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A Thesis

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the

Louisiana State University and
Agricultural and Mechanical College
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Master of Mass Communication
The Manship School of Mass Communication

Keren Esther Henderson
B.A., University of Toronto, 2000
August 2007

As we all know, no graduate student works alone. I have some people that I have
been waiting two long years to thank: Dr. Andrea Miller for being an outstanding chair;
Dr. David Kurpius for finding me the perfect assistantship that lured me away from New
Orleans; Tad Odell for directing me toward this thesis topic and for putting up with my
indecision; Shenid Bhayroo, for being a wonderful friend and mentor I would not have
gotten this far without you; Casey Rayborn Hicks, for being a dedicated friend and
awesome study buddy (even when we arent really studying); Amy Ladley, for being an
admirable colleague, friend, and all-round great person; Misti McDaniel for showing me
the importance of choosing a good chair and graduating quickly. Ben Lewis what goes
around comes around keep that music flowing DJ; Amy Martin, Emily Schult, and
Miranda Lemon for having the coolest office in the building as well as Sarah Marshall,
my co-pres and MCAGS dancing and drinking buddy get ready cause all yall are next
in line. Oren Edenson, for being a great brother and the most talented member of the
family; Yaffa Edenson for showing me unconditional love, which deserves more thanks
than I could ever express in words; And finally, but always most importantly, to the man
of my past and the man of my present: Daddy, I miss you you left some really big shoes
to fill, but Im working on it; and Kristopher, my love, my life, my all - the best decision
I ever made was to bet my whole chip stack on you and I am so grateful that you always
do the same for me.


Table of Contents
Abstract ............................................................................................................................ v
Chapter 1. Introduction .....................................................................................................
Narratives and News.................................................................................................
Narratives and Editing .............................................................................................
The Study .................................................................................................................
Significance of the Study..........................................................................................


Chapter 2. Literature Review ............................................................................................ 4

Norms and Routines ................................................................................................. 4
A History of News and Economics ......................................................................... 6
Hard and Soft News ................................................................................................ 8
Television News Narratives ...................................................................................... 9
Television News Editing Narratives ...................................................................... 10
Chapter 3. Understanding Narrative Editing ................................................................... 13
Connotative and Denotative .................................................................................. 13
First Order Signs .......................................................................................... 13
Second Order Signs ...................................................................................... 14
Codes ...................................................................................................................... 15
Metric Montage ............................................................................................. 15
Analytical Montage ....................................................................................... 16
Idea-Associative Montage ............................................................................. 16
Transitions ..................................................................................................... 17
Research Questions ................................................................................................. 18
Chapter 4. Method .......................................................................................................... 20
Qualitative Research ............................................................................................... 20
NPPA Award-Winning Editors .............................................................................. 22
The Participants....................................................................................................... 22
Mike Harrity .................................................................................................. 22
Eric Kehe ....................................................................................................... 23
Brain Weister ................................................................................................. 23
Josh Shea ....................................................................................................... 23
Denver .................................................................................................................... 24
Content Analysis .................................................................................................... 24
Metric Montage ............................................................................................ 25
Analytical Montage ...................................................................................... 25
Idea-Associative Montage ........................................................................... 25
Transitions .................................................................................................... 25
Coding Instrument ......................................................................................... 26
In-Depth Interviews ............................................................................................... 27
Chapter 5. How Editors Tell Stories ................................................................................ 29


Content Analysis ..................................................................................................... 29

Hard and Soft News ...................................................................................... 29
Reporter Presence .......................................................................................... 30
Narrative Editing Norms ........................................................................................ 31
Drama ............................................................................................................ 31
Characters ...................................................................................................... 33
Working Without Footage ...................................................................................... 34
Montage and Narrative ........................................................................................... 35
Eye-Candy Editing ........................................................................................ 35
Chapter 6. Why Editors Tell Stories ................................................................................ 38
Account Editing ...................................................................................................... 38
Clean Editing ................................................................................................. 38
Great Visuals ................................................................................................. 40
Efficiency ...................................................................................................... 41
Readers, VOs, VOSOTs, and Packages ............................................................. 42
Competing Norms and Routines ............................................................................ 43
Narrative Editing .................................................................................................... 44
Two Sets of Norms ................................................................................................. 46
Storytelling Tools ................................................................................................... 47
A Price on Education .............................................................................................. 48
News and the Identity Crisis .................................................................................. 49
Chapter 7. Conclusion ..................................................................................................... 51
Journalism and Democracy .................................................................................... 51
KARE ..................................................................................................................... 52
Montage Editing Reconsidered .............................................................................. 53
The New Journalism ............................................................................................... 55
The Future ............................................................................................................... 56
Final Thought ......................................................................................................... 57
Bibliography .................................................................................................................... 58
Appendix A. Interview Protocol ...................................................................................... 62
Appendix B. Interview Transcriptions ............................................................................. 64
Harrity Interview .................................................................................................... 64
Kehe Interview ....................................................................................................... 76
Weister Interview ................................................................................................... 88
Shea Interview ...................................................................................................... 110
Appendix C. Content Analysis ...................................................................................... 118
Vita ................................................................................................................................. 217


This study seeks to understand how and why television news editors impose
meanings onto news packages through montage editing. Through a qualitative content
analysis and in-depth interviews, this study will advance the notably few past narrative
editing studies by investigating the norms and routines of television news editors. While
other researchers recognize the significance of studying montage editing in television
news, this is the first study to clarify the relationship between montage techniques and the
creation of television news narratives.

Chapter 1. Introduction
Narratives and News
While an account is merely a recollection of facts, a narration is the process of
telling a story in such a way that the story itself takes on meaning outside of its details.
According to Fisher (1984), storytelling is the very essence of being human. Fulton
(2005) notes that, as long as human beings have had the power of speech, they have
been speaking in narratives (p.1). Humans produce narratives, or what Barthes (1972)
calls myths, as a way of categorizing and making sense of the society in which they
live. The act of narrating, Ryan (2004) explains, enables humans to deal with time,
destiny, and morality; to create and project identities; and to situate themselves as
embodied individuals in a world populated by similarly embodied subjects (p.2).
Narratives exist in both fiction and non-fiction stories and, as is relevant to this
study, narratives are also found in news. According to Lule (2001), news stories offer
sacred, societal narratives with shared values and beliefs, with lessons and themes, and
with exemplary models that instruct and inform (p. 18). The news media, as agents
between events and viewers, have the task of constructing the news through whichever
routines they deem correct according to their conventional standards or norms. The
news, then, not only provides information about specific occurrences, but also educates
the viewer about societal values. Smith (1992) explains that, news organizations do not
offer random accounts of the events they report, but stylized interpretations that follow
standardized narrative patterns (p.339). As Bird and Dardenne (1988) put it, news
stories, like myths, do not tell it like it is, but rather, tell it like it means (p.71).
Narratives and Editing
In 2001, Schaefer published the first and only longitudinal study comparing news
editing techniques from 1969 through 1997. With the help of Pierces semiotic theory and

some film terminology, Schaefer recognized an increase over three decades in the use of
narrative editing techniques in television news. For example Schaefer observed, a
general trend away from realist continuity editing techniques toward a greater use of
montage techniques (p.179). Schaefers study also exposed an important fact about
television news editors: namely that, television journalists have traditionally learned the
art of editing through an immersion process that does not readily lend itself to conscious
articulation of forms (p.179). Schaefer believes that television editing is not commonly
discussed because the editors themselves do not share a common language for this
discussion. His study suggests a need for a more specific understanding of the current
conventional techniques of television news editing, and the development of a set of
interview questions through which one can gain a clearer understanding of this newsmaking process.
The Study
This study seeks to understand how and why television news editors impose
meanings onto news packages through montage editing. As Tuchman (1978) explains,
The production of meaning is intricately embedded in the activities of men and women
in the institutions, organizations, and professions associated with their activities and that
they produce and reproduce, create and recreate (p.216). Through a qualitative content
analysis and in-depth interviews, this study will advance the notably few past narrative
editing studies by investigating the norms and routines of television news editors.
Fields (1988) explains of qualitative observations of news that, The analyst can
show how the structure of the coverage is grounded in the social processes of doing
newswork as well as in the social, political, and economic forces at a certain moment in
history (p.191). This study is an attempt to do just that. Firstly, it will provide a technical
analysis of the specific instances of montage in television news editing. Secondly, this

thesis will provide a discussion based on in-depth interviews with award-winning editors
in order to reveal some of the political and economic forces and well as the subsequent
norms and routines that determine the creation of news through editing.
Significance of the Study
While other researchers recognize the significance of studying montage editing in
television news (Schaefer, 2001; Baym; 2004), this is the first study to clarify the
relationship between montage techniques and the creation of television news narratives.
The news media are increasingly criticized for producing unimportant news and for
preferring entertainment over information (Gans, 2003). Viewers, however, depend on
television news, not just for factual accounts, but also for useful narratives, which the
aforementioned researchers believe are instrumental in socialization. While Schaefer
noticed an increase in montage editing techniques in television news packages, those
techniques alone are not necessarily producing useful narratives. An increase in the
production of montage-based packages that do not have educational value puts into
question the role of television news as part of the Fourth Estate. As such, it is necessary
to understand how and why editors are employing montage techniques in television news
packages in order to better analyze their role in the democratic system.

Chapter 2. Literature Review

Norms and Routines
After a half-century of research, academics agree that two stages separate
occurrences from their potential discussion on television news programs: deciding what
is news and deciding how to package it. Even in 1959, Cater could see that, news
production for the hungry American public has become instantaneous, continuous, manyfaceted, and layered operation (p.3). Shortly thereafter, researchers focused their efforts
on observing the norms and routines that determine what airs on the news and in what
form it will appear.
Tuchman, Gans, Molotch, and Lester, approach broadcast news from the
perspective that news is not out there to be discovered; rather, news is created by
journalists through a series of observable and often times predictable norms and routines.
The news, then, is no longer viewed as an objective representation of reality, but rather
the product of newsroom decisions as to what the public needs to know and how they
need to know it.
Herbert Gans (2004) conducted participant-observations and content analyses of
two television programs and two news magazines. His study outlined the various
dynamic relationships between journalists and their superiors, journalists and their peers,
journalists and their sources, and journalists and their viewers. Gans study served to
support Caters observation that news making is an operation with many layers.
Gaye Tuchman (1978) also observed the activities of journalists in her study
about the construction of reality. Tuchman recognized the significance of norms and
routines as systems from which news forms can be traced. Tuchmans study also
combined participant-observation with content analysis, with particular emphasis on the

effects of these norms and routines on the medias ability to frame topics and shape the
national agenda.
These academics broke down each of journalisms core values in order to observe
each as a product of news routines. For example, Tuchman (1972) outlined the routines
or, what she termed, strategies of a newsroom and their effects on the production of
objective reporting. She outlined that the notion of objectivity is comprised of four
strategies: presenting opposing views to the main story, showing evidentiary support for
the main view, use of citations, and use of the inverted pyramid (p.665 670). By
maintaining this pattern, Tuchman asserted, journalists could feel justified in sending a
story to print that they could confidently call an objective piece of journalism. On the
newsgathering side, norms and routines researchers explored the concept of
newsworthiness (Lester, 1980; Fishman, 1982). Molotch and Lester (1974) categorized
news events into four categories: routine events, accidents, scandals, and serendipity
(p.106 111). They discussed each kind of news in terms of the power structures each
reveal. Lester (1980) observed that, in the event of a slow news day or week, journalists
are able to generate newsworthy stories rather than wait for something interesting to
happen. Fishman (1982) illustrated that news routines determine which occurrences are
termed newsworthy and which events are doomed to obscurity (p.210).
These routines are in place so that journalists can feel confident that the work they
produce meets the publics expectations of journalists as the Fourth Estate. Some critics
question the value of this system, claiming that journalists are so entrenched in their
economic-based routines that they cannot serve their original democratic purpose
(Hamilton, 2005). Before one can speculate, however, as to the value of journalism or
where it is headed, it is important know how journalism came to function in its current

A History of News and Economics

The American news product has seen drastic transformations over the last two
hundred years. In the early 1800s, the Jacksonian era gave rise to widespread political
discussion when, for the first time in more than two decades, voters were called upon to
elect a president. During this era, self-promotion by politicians was viewed as shameless
and inappropriate. As a consequence, political parties partnered with newspapers to
disseminate information to the masses. Funding for newspapers came from party
subsidies, government printing contracts, and the franking privilege.
In the mid-nineteenth century, once the excitement of renewed political involvement
died down, politics fell out of fashion as the dominant subject in newspapers. The stigma of
self-promotion lessened, politicians relied less on press support, and the amount of press
funding stemming from this relationship radically decreased. As populations grew, so did
competition for business and the need for product marketing. Just as the politicians from the
previous generation had recognized the value of appealing to voters through the press,
owners of businesses like the newly developed department stores saw newspapers as a way to
attract consumers. In search of patronage in the mid-nineteenth century, newspaper editors
recognized the financial benefits of partnering with advertisers during the growth of
industrialization. The rising costs of running a newspaper along with dwindling assistance
from the political realm opened a spot for advertisers and newspapermen to form a bond.
In Baldastys (1992) estimation, newspapers shifted from treating readers as
voters to appealing to readers as consumers. In a supportive discussion of the
development of consumer capitalism in America, William Leach (1993) insisted that,
Consumptionism is bringing it about that the American citizens first importance to his
country is no longer that of citizen but that of consumer (p.268). Baldasty argued that
news, was not simply a reflection of the days events. It was a selected account chosen

for its ability to please both advertisers and readers (p.113) and warned that when,
commercial considerations dictate the general news process, the press will serve
democracy only when such service is financially profitable (p.9).
Today, television news functions within this well-established commercial system.
McManus (1994) believes that news stations, which are increasingly dependent on
commercial considerations, are just like their print counterparts: The reader or viewer is
now a customer. The news is a product. (p.1). Schudson (2003) adds that advertisers
are gaining power as they are now, directly influencing the news (p.125). The concern
is clear: what was initially regarded as a public resource ended up as a system that
increasingly serves private interests whose primary goal is profit, not public service
(Wittebols, 2004, p.11). Schudson (2003) points out that this loyalty to profit-making
results in managers cutting corners as well as executive decisions to cut costs, even at
the risk of limiting the quality of journalism (p.127).
From an economic perspective, media owners are protected unlike any other
business: usually, a product that is deemed unsuitable warrants intervention by either the
government or an authoritative organization (Schudson, 2003). Due to broad First
Amendment protection, news quality is largely exempt from government regulation.
Sanford and Kirtley (2005) quote Justice Douglas as saying that the news media should
enjoy this protection, not because they are meant to become an elite social group, but
because democracy depends on their supporting the, publics right to know (p.269).
The public depends on quality information from the news media in order to make
informed social and political decisions. Scholars argue that the fact that the press enjoy a
great deal of legal protection by the First Amendment, means that they hold a certain
social responsibility to their viewers to choose information over entertainment (Peterson,

1963). Just as Baldasty warned, in this consumer capitalist society, the news media
struggle to find a balance between their roles as educators and entertainers.
Hard News and Soft News
Modern broadcast news, as a product of an advertiser-funded news system, has
seen an important change in format: namely that soft news, which is associated with
entertainment and immediate financial satisfaction for shareholders, has become more
prevalent in news programs (Hamilton, 2004, p.162). Academics, therefore, make
distinctions between hard and soft news. Ted White (2002) lists hard news stories as:
fires, accidents, crime, police-media relations, the courts, demonstrations, riots, disasters,
tragedies, war, news conferences, local government, or political campaigns. Soft news
stories, on the other hand, refer to features (issue stories), or profiles (human interest
stories). Patterson (2000) specifies that,
Soft news is sometimes used in a way that implies it is all the news that
is not hard news. Hard news refers to coverage of breaking events
involving top leaders, major issues, or significant disruptions in the
routines of daily life, such as an earthquake or airline disaster. Information
about these events is presumably important to citizens ability to understand and
respond to the world of public affairs. News that is not of this type is, by
definition, soft (p.3).
He defines hard news as news that contains information on public policy, while soft news
does not report on these policies and, instead, focuses on sensationalism (p.3). Patterson
believes that soft news serves to, expand an audience by attracting people who find the
news more enjoyable when it has a touch of personal drama (p.9).
In this discussion of news is the question of whether or not soft news is an inferior
quality of news programming (Plasser, 2005). Prior (2003) argues that soft news does not
have the ability to teach the uniformed reader about politics because the subjects in his
study did not recall specific political information following their exposure to soft news.
Baum (2004) counters this claim by tying soft news to framing theory; According to

Baum, the fact that the reader may not recall the details of the story, but does recall the
way he or she felt about the political subject is a significant form of learning. Zaller
(2003) calls for a change altogether in the definition of what is acceptable news. He
believes that, in order for democracy to be served, the public must be informed. If this
means that the media must include the option of soft news in order to attract attention,
then this is acceptable to him for the greater purpose of informing the public.
Television News Narratives
While it is clear that accounts, traditionally associated with hard news, are
informative, the value of soft news remains debated. In past, researchers have perceived
soft news as being unimportant (Gans, 2004) because of its focus on the dramatic. Too
much straight information, however, is recognized by researchers as being difficult to
remember (Lang, Potter, and Grabe, 2003). Storytelling journalists may have the answer
to this dilemma. Machill (2007) explains that narratives can improve the quality of
journalism as it increases viewer attention over the presentation of dry accounts. While
television reporting originates from print journalism, he argues, the traditional inverted
pyramid style of presentation ought to be rejected as it takes the joy out of watching a
medium whose strength lies in its ability to visually entertain; it is less entertaining to
receive all of the pertinent information upfront, leaving nothing in terms of narratives.
Fry (2006) agrees, placing visuals at the top of a list of televisions characteristics (p.83).
If viewers are not learning from straight information, and critics are concerned about the
emptiness of entertaining news, then it is important to find a happy medium between
attention-grabbing and educational news.
In 2003, Lang, Potter, and Grabe outlined seven strategies for making television
news memorable and easier to understand: (1) Let the emotions talk, (2) slow it down, (3)
dare to be quiet, (4) match the audio and video, (5) know how to deal with negative

images, (6) take a literal approach. The last item on the list is the suggestion to (7) use
strong chronological narratives (p.114 116). Lang et al. explain that, Stories told in a
narrative style with a beginning, middle, and an end are easier to process and are better
remembered than stories that have a weak narrative structure or are told in nonchronological styles such as the inverted pyramid (p.116). Their study recommended
implementing these strategies for increased attention and arousal for any news story in
order to succeed in a competitive, commercial news environment. While accounts, then,
are needed to inform the citizenry, narratives are necessary to encourage learning.
Tuchman (1978) described television news narratives as, a recently evolved foreign
tongue we have all learned to translate but that few of us speak (p.107). She justified the
value of studying this language through norms and routines when writing: Identifying
those conventions as artful manipulations enables one to regard filmed events as social
accomplishments the product of news work (p.109). This study, therefore, investigates
the norms and routines that transfer an account into a narrative.
Television News Editing Narratives
Editing plays an important role in storytelling journalism. It is in the editing that
the producers can format the material they have assembled into a powerful
dramaturgical sequence. An elaborated narrative structure is enacted. The
chronology how the story starts and how it ends, and how the intervening parts
are linked together are decisive. Drama and suspense are created on the editing
table with poignant images and sounds (Ekstrom, 2000, p.474).
Just as print journalists construct reality by following established news routines,
so too do television journaists work to construct news video. Tuchman (1978) observes
that, unfortunately, analysts of news do not customarily treat news film as a visual
language. Rather, they naively suppose that news film captures reality without imposing
its own rules (p.107). Two editing routines lead to the creation of either accounts or
narratives: continuity or montage editing.

Continuity editing, like the telling of an account, concerns itself primarily, but
not exclusively, with the clarification of an event (Zettl, 1999, p.265). As Monaco
(1977) explains, In Hollywood cinema, invisible cutting was the aim, andwas used
as a device to compress dead time (p.184). News editors use continuity editing to create
the illusion that the viewer is watching reality. In cinema, this technique is called
realism and it, emphasizes the subject as opposed to the directors view of the subject
(p.425). Monaco (1977) explains that realism usually concerns topics of a socially
conscious nature, and uses a minimal amount of technique (p.425). In other words,
newsmakers who are concerned with telling an account, or acting as a camera-ofrecord, might favor using only continuity editing techniques. In television news, this
technique is used for the same reason as it is in film: to provide a representation of
reality, or even the illusion of reality itself.
Montage editing, on the other hand, is used primarily to intensify an event and
reveal its complexity (Zettl, 1999, p.291). Montage editing illustrates relationships
between shots and sequences and, in doing so, creates an additional layer to the packages
written and visual narratives of a news package. These relationships and their subsequent
meanings are significant to the study of narratives. In their studies, both Schaefer (2001)
and Baym (2004) used film terminology to operationalize their variables for the sake of
showing an increased use of montage techniques in television news. Schaefer counted
instances of stylized transitions and measured shot length in order to point out that the
news packages are carefully constructed. Building on Schaefers study, Bayms content
analysis compared news coverage of the Nixon impeachment trials with those of Bill
Clinton. His purpose was to confirm Schaefers assertion that news is progressively
changing towards montage editing styles and to apply those observations to a discussion
of journalistic integrity. Baym showed that, indeed, news packages about Bill Clinton

favored elements such as close-ups and dissolves, while Nixon was subjected to medium
shots and hard cuts. He suggested by this observation that these editing choices affected
the viewers understanding of each occurrence.
As Schaefer points out, narratives have not been properly studied in television
news because there is not a method designed for their recognition, nor is there a manner
in which to effectively discuss their meaning with editors. This study provides a solution
to both problems: Firstly, it reviews the existing film-based information needed to
understand the concepts behind video editing. These concepts outline the differences
between visual accounts and visual narratives. These concepts are followed by the
definition of Zettls codes of montage editing. These codes are then applied to a
qualitative content analysis of existing, television news packages created by awardwinning television news editors. Finally, these editors discuss their craft, as well as their
work environment in order to clarify some of the social, political, and economic
influences affecting contemporary television news editors.


Chapter 3. Understanding Narrative Editing

This thesis follows Marie-Laure Ryans (2004) suggestion that one must,
identify the units of the medium; identify the meanings that make up the medium-free
system of narrative; and create a lexicon that maps the signs of the medium upon the
meanings of the narrative system (p.195). There cannot be a proper understanding of
television news editing without a method for understanding the technique of forming
relationships between editing elements in order to create a narrative.
Connotative and Denotative
Editors rely on news photographers to capture the images of an event. The basic
unit of television news package construction, therefore, is the shot. When creating a news
package, it is the photographers job to go out and capture a representation of reality by
collecting shots in the form of interviews (in news these are known as bites or sound-ontape), or in the form of b-roll (footage related to the story). The editors ability to create
accounts and narratives is directly affected by the shots provided by the photographer.
First Order Signs
Each shot conveys meaning based on whether it is iconic, indexical, or symbolic,
or what Fiske and Hartley (1978) call first order signs (p.25). Monaco (1977) explains
that an icon is, a sign in which the signifier represents the signified mainly by its
similarity to it, its likeness. In other words, a shot of John Smith is an icon of John
Smith. An index is an image, which measures a quality, not because it is identical to it,
but because it has an inherent relationship to it. A shot of clouds, then, is an indexical
image meaning that rain is on the way. Viewers understand that clouds and rain have a
relationship. A symbol is, an arbitrary sign in which the signifier has neither a direct nor
an indexical relationship to the signified, but rather represents it through convention
(p.133). Fiske and Hartley explain that, a photograph or a road sign can both be signs of

a car, but the photograph, semiotically, can go further; it can also be a sign of virility or
freedom, and in certain contexts it can even be used to signify an industrial, materialist,
and rootless society (p.25). The complexity of a package is usually affected by the kinds
of shots provided by the photographer: iconic images are the building blocks of
continuity edits, while indexical and symbolic imagery lend themselves to the artful
routines of montage editors.
Second Order Signs
Once editors know which shots they are using, they must decide how these shots
will work together to tell their stories. These decisions can fall under one of two
categories: paradigmatic choices or syntagmatic choices. Paradigmatic decisions are
choices between iconic, indexical, or symbolic images. Syntagmatic decision-making, on
the other hand, builds the sequence. This is the point where the shots are tied together
by transitions, or cuts, to potentially create a new meaning. This process can be
compared to writing: words, alone, have iconic, indexical, or symbolic meaning, as do
shots. Once they are strategically organized into sentences and paragraphs, however, they
can work together to form entirely new narrative meanings such as metaphor or
synecdoche. Just as one can write an account or write a story with words, so too can
editors forms accounts and narratives with visuals.
For news editors, the smallest unit of measurement in narrative construction is the
sequence. Sequences are shots grouped together to form meaning based on the
relationship between the shots. The whole sequence, then, becomes something greater
than the sum of its parts. It is through the construction of sequences, or what Fiske and
Hartley call second-order signs, that an editor can take shots of a road sign or a car and,
combined with the complementary or conflicting shots, narrate complex concepts such as


poverty or suspense. What research has yet to determine is how and why news editors
construct these narratives.
Schaefer (2001) recognizes the presence of montage editing elements in his study.
He observes an increase in the use of dissolves and a decrease in shot length, but he does
not ask what editors do with these shots and transitions in order to tell a story. His
analysis quantifies some techniques of montage editing, but he does not discuss which
specific codes are put to use in order to produce a narrative.
Photographers use codes to indicate to the viewer that they are to understand a
shot in a certain way. Fiske and Hartley explain that codes are, at first, meaningless, but
they gain significance over time through conventionality (p.43). Photojournalists know,
for example, that shooting a subject from below will signify to the viewer the importance
of the subject. Conversely, taking the same shot from above will signify the subjects
inferiority (Zettl, 1999, p.190-192). One can see how these codes were initially
meaningless but developed over years of learning to read television.
Like photographers, news editors use codes as well. Zettl (1999) categorizes the
various codes of montage editing into three categories: (1) metric montage, (2) analytical
montage, and (3) idea associative montage (p.292). This thesis employs the following
definitions of these codes for use in the qualitative content analysis of news packages:
Metric Montage
Zettl defines metric montage as, a rhythmic structuring deviceof a series of
related or unrelated images that are flashed on the screen at more or less equally spaced
intervals (p.292). When each of the shots in a sequence are cut progressively shorter, the
scene is viewed as occurring faster, hence the name accelerated montage. As Zettl
explains, You can use the accelerated metric montage to lead up to, or punctuate, a

particular high point in a scene (p.292). Metric montage, or pacing, increases intensity
by increasing the pace of the package. Monaco (1977) defines accelerated montage as, a
sequence edited into progressively shorter shots to create a mood of tension and
excitement (p.395).
Analytical Montage
Zettl breaks analytical montage down into two categories: sequential and
sectional. Sequential analytical montage means editing a scene to show cause-and-effect.
Even though one may not show the actual event (such as a car accident), one can create a
cause sequence of a car riding down the street, and another car cutting it off. Then one
can show an effect sequence of the dented cars and the rescue crew helping the injured.
Zettl explains that, by requiring the viewer to fill in the blanks, you have engaged, if not
forced, the viewer to participate in the event, rather than merely watch it (p.294).
Sectional analytical montage is used to emphasize a moment within sequential
montage in order to add more meaning or context to the scene. It requires a, series of
rhythmically precise shots (p.296). In other words, the sectional montage does not slow
down time within itself, although its presence in the larger sequential montage slows
down the overall progression of the plot in order to reveal, the complexity of the event
the intensity, emotional power, and quality of the moment (p.296). Relating to the car
accident example, imagine that, between the cause sequence and the effect sequence
lies a third sequence cutting between Driver A and Driver Bs reactions to the impending
accident. This particular code is an intimate representation of the human experience.
Idea-Associative Montage
Idea-associative montage is the connection of, two seemingly disassociated
images in order to create a third principal idea or concept (Zettl, 1999, p.298). Zettl
refers to this third idea or concept as a tertium quid. As in the discussion of

first-order and second-order signs earlier in this thesis, these concepts are put to use in
Zettls definition of idea-associative montage. As with metric montage, Zettl breaks this
technique down into two categories: comparison montage and collision montage.
Comparison montage, or cross-cutting, compares similar themes as expressed in
dissimilar events (p.299). Comparison depicts a conflict or similarity between two
subjects by presenting two points in time within one sequence. This technique is similar
to the literary concepts of simile or metaphor. Zettl uses the example of a sequence cut
between a hungry man and a hungry animal. Another example of this technique is the
cross-cutting of two interviews: If two people who were interviewed individually give
strikingly similar responses to the same question, an editor can break up the responses by
cutting back and forth between them. Even though each interview occurred at a different
time (and possibly a different space), the two are now associated by this third concept of
Collision montage is the same technique using opposing imagery. In other words,
rather than using shots of a hungry man and a hungry animal, editors can alternate visuals
of extreme wealth with those of extreme poverty to suggest a third concept such as the
unfair treatment of the lower class of a given country. In literature, this is closest to the
concept of juxtaposition. Zettl is careful to note that idea-associative montage can also
exist within a single shot. Modern editing technology allows editors to transpose one
image or sound on top of another. Here, an editor could show, what Zettl calls,
simultaneous collision montages by overlapping two separate shots of contrary or similar
imagery into one shot.
Transitions can also serve to add meaning to a sequence. While a hard cut is
simply, an instantaneous change from one image to another (Zettl, 1999, p.256), Zettl

defines a dissolve as, a gradual transition from shot to shot in which the two images
temporarily overlap (p.258). As Zettl explains, the overlapping of images can result in a
separate meaning than the two shots alone, as it temporarily transposes one on top of the
other. A fade occurs when, the picture either goes gradually to black (fade-out) or
appears gradually on the screen from black (fade-in), signifying, much like a theater
curtain, a definite beginning or end of a sequence (p.260). Additionally, a dip is the
pairing of a fade-out and a fade-in. Fades and dips can represent transitions in time and
space as well as in narrative themes.
Research Questions
When Schaefer (2001) operationalized the variables of his montage study, he
focused on quantifiable elements such as dissolves and shot length. He did not, however,
address the meanings behind these techniques. Schaefer and Baym both acknowledge that
news editors are increasingly using montage techniques and yet their studies ignore the
way editing elements work together to form new meanings. Their research leaves out the
essence of montage itself; the relationship between shots and the creation of sequences.
Clearly a great deal of research exists on the subject of film editing and montage
techniques. No one, however, has effectively applied this information to the study of
television news editing. By adapting existing knowledge on film montage editing to a
qualitative content analysis of television news packages, this study seeks to clarify how
montage editing techniques are used by television news editors.
Additionally, Schaefer claims that, because of their diverse apprenticeships,
editors do not share a language and cannot, therefore, discuss their craft. Past norms and
routines researchers have explored the processes of news making, explaining that
television news is not merely a passive camera-of-record but, rather, a series of processes
that inevitably impose onto the package the news workers interpretation of the event.

These news making activities do not exist in a vacuum; they are, in fact, affected by both
external and internal factors such as politics, economics, and human behavior. In order to
provide a well-rounded explanation of television news narrative editing, this study also
asks why news editors employ montage editing techniques to television news packages.
The trouble with Schaefer and Bayms studies is that it sets up a dichotomy
between continuity and montage techniques as the two camps of television news editing,
with continuity representing accounts and montage representing narratives. This suggests
that one can measure the amount of narratives in news based on the amount of montage
techniques found in packages. In film, editing falls under one of two categories: mimetic
or diegetic. Mimetic, like a mime, attempts to imitate reality, while diegetic adds
meaning beyond the immediate occurrence. According to Baym (2004), there lies a
continuum in news between mimetic and diegetic storytelling. That is, on the one end,
stories that appear as unmediated, directly apparent to the audiences field of vision,
and, on the other end, stories that are overtly mediated, constructed for the audiences
appreciation (p.286). He then relates the use of montage editing techniques to the
presentation of diegetic news video. Just because editors are using montage techniques
does not necessarily mean, however, that their packages appear overtly mediated. This
thesis, then, also asks whether the presence of montage editing necessarily means an
increase in news narratives.


Chapter 4. Method
Qualitative Research
This mixed methodological study of news narratives consists of in-depth
interviews with award-winning news editors and a qualitative content analysis of their
work in both hard and soft news. This study draws upon Monacos (1977) semiology of
film, Fiske and Hartleys (2003) semiology of television images, and specific definitions
from Zettls (1999) Sight Sound Motion, to describe editing techniques of award-winning
television news editors. Charmaz (2000) explains that, unlike quantitative research that
requires data to fit into preconceived standardized codes, the researchers interpretations
of data shape his or her emergent codes in grounded theory (p.515). For the content
analysis, film and television theory did predetermine the codes, however this is the first
instance of applying these particular codes to television news packages. The information
gained from the results of the content analysis was used to supplement the interview
protocol. The in-depth interviews began with general questions about norms and routines
and, as grounded theory predicts, lead to the development of new concepts and
terminology that have not been discovered by quantitative methods.
The concept of news editing narratives is still fairly new to the research world, so
it is important to compare and contrast the themes in the interviews with the results of the
content analysis just as past norms and routines researchers have done. This study
followed a tradition of qualitative research in television news norms and routines for an
important reason: Research on news editing has, to date, only attempted to quantify the
technique of montage editing. As a result, little has developed on the subject of news
narratives. Straus and Corbin (1998) explain of qualitative research that, we are
referring not to the quantifying of qualitative data, but rather to a nonmathematical
process of interpretation, carried out for the purpose of discovering concepts and

relationships in raw data and then organizing these into a theoretical explanatory scheme
(1998, p.11). This study applies this nonmathematical analysis to montage editing in
television news in order to delve deeper into the social, political, and economic forces
that may affect news worker output. As Tuchman (1977) explains, content analysis alone
is also insufficient because it cannot apply to work that has not yet been published, or that
has been rejected. It was necessary, then, to partner the content analysis with in-depth
interviews in order to offer a source of context and thematic discussion. Through this
partnership of content analysis and in-depth interviews, this study gained a clearer
understanding of the editing work available for analysis, as well as insight into work that
is considered insufficient, or work that may not yet exist.
Strauss and Corbin (1998) refer to qualitative research as being a combination of
analytical art and science (p.13). This is well-suited to the study of editing, because
editing is also a combination of mechanical and artistic decisions. This relationship is
exactly what is missing from previous research. Schaefer (2001), Lang et al. (2003), and
Baym (2004) all base their research on the presence or absence of editing elements such
as transitions or video that is synchronous with sound. The problem is that, if these
researchers wish to discuss montage editing, they are measuring the wrong elements
because this is not what editors use to construct montages; editors create montages by
building sequences. The codes that describe these sequences are not defined by the
buttons editors push but, rather, the artful presentation of carefully selected shots. While
they may not express it as such, television news editors use montage editing techniques
that have long been studied by film theorists. These are the codes that ought to be studied
by television narrative editing researchers. Without these codes, researchers are unable to
appreciate the art of editing which is the commonality between narrative editors
regardless of their terminology.

NPPA Award-Winning Editors

Quality photojournalism, in an otherwise self-regulated industry, is subject to peer
review by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). The NPPA, founded in
1948, offers workshops, mentoring, critiques, and self-training resources to students and
professionals interested in maintaining a high quality of news production. The workshops
and materials, access to which is completely voluntary, promote association values, at the
height of which is quality photojournalism (Mission Statement, 2006).
Award-winning editors are the focus of this study because they shape the trends in
the industry; awards imply a need for those who do not win awards to mimic the winners
styles. In order to find award-winning editors, a Google search was placed for the phrase
television news editing awards. The search yielded approximately 57,000,000 hits, at
the top of which was the Poynter Institute website, The site provided a link
to the NPPA photojournalism awards from 2003. Below this hit on the Google list was
the direct link to the NPPA website, where Mike Harrity was listed as chair along with an
email address. An email explaining the purpose of the study along with a request for an
interview resulted in the initial contact with Harrity. Harrity then suggested the other
three participants due to their diverse ages, training, and years of experience. The other
three participants were also emailed and asked to agree to interviews. Once all four
participants agreed to be interviewed, an additional round of emails established the dates
and times of each interview.
The Participants
Mike Harrity
Mike Harrity is the senior news editor at KUSA-TV, Denvers NBC affiliate and
top ranked station. He has played an active role in the news editing business over the last
twenty years, working his way up to his management position, and chairing the NPPA

editing awards for the past ten years. Harrity provides insight into the current state of
news editing. He has the benefit of twenty years of experience from which he describes
the development of the industry and offers predictions about the future of television
Eric Kehe
Eric Kehe is the Director of Photography at KUSA-TV, and, though he sees
himself primarily as a photographer, is considered one of the top editors at the station,
having originally trained as an editor. Kehe, like Harrity, has also worked in television
news for more than two decades and offers similar insight to Harrity, only from the
photographers perspective. Kehe travels to surrounding Colorado universities to lecture
to students about photojournalism techniques. He also lectures to his peers at NPPA
Brian Weister
Brian Weister is a former editor from KMGH-TV, a McGraw-Hill owned ABC
affiliate. Weister is the winner of two NPPA Editor of the Year awards from both 2004
and 2005. Weister has since left the news business to work at High Noon a company
that produces, story-driven, unscripted/reality entertainment (Our Company, 2007,
para.1). Brian represents a group of editors skilled at narrative construction who can
explain why these editors sometimes move out of news and into long-form storytelling
project shops.
Joshua Shea
Joshua Shea is a star news editor at KCNC-TV, a CBS O&O, as this years
winner of the NPPA title of Editor of the Year. Shea brings the perspective of the next
generation of news editors to this study. KCNC is the only union shop in Denver, and


Shea describes his experience working there as well as his development as a storytelling
Conveniently, all four editors work in Denver. While Denver was not chosen
specifically due to its market size or the fact that it boasts some of the top local news
stations in the nation (Davis, 2000), it is important to note that Denver does happen to
have a long-standing tradition of storytelling journalism ( Although all of
these editors currently work in the same city, they are not all employed by the same
company, so their editing styles cannot be attributed to one set of company training or
policies. They are, however, all voluntary members of the NPPA. This proved beneficial
to the study as it provided participants who have an appreciation for storytelling, so much
so that they voluntarily search for peer validation in the form of the NPPA Best of
Photojournalism competition. The participants were eager to share their experiences,
philosophies, and wisdom as well as their expressed sense of social responsibility.
Content Analysis
Schaefers study was designed to determine the presence or absence of montage
editing techniques in television news. This study, instead, employed a qualitative content
analysis to determine the kinds of montage techniques used in the current state of
television news. Kehe, Weister, and Shea were asked to send a minimum of ten packages
of their choosing consisting of five hard news stories and five soft news stories. In total,
the participants sent 34 packages for analysis, 17 of soft news and 17 of hard news.
Harritys work was not analyzed because, as chief editor, he rarely has to put a package
together himself anymore. Instead, Harrity contributed greatly during the in-depth


The literature review outlined three kinds of montage techniques. Each kind of
code is observable in news packages by recognizing their common manifestations:
Metric Montage
Unlike the other two categories of montage, news narrative researchers have
already addressed the increased use of this style of editing (Schaefer, 1999; Baym, 2004;
Lang et al, 2003). This thesis acknowledged the use of metric and accelerated montage
when they arose. Since this analysis is qualitative, second and frames were not measured,
but changes in pacing were verbally described and analyzed.
Analytical Montage
Analytical montage is a good example of the reason this thesis employed a
qualitative content analysis: Since researchers have not yet determined the presence or
absence of each of these types of montage in news editing, it is difficult to train coders to
recognize their manifestations in news packages. The packages were viewed with the
plot in mind. The appearance of cause-and-effect sequencing, was coded as sequential
analytical montage. Any breaks in the story where particular emphasis was placed on any
subjects experience, was coded as sectional analytical montage.
Idea-Associative Montage
Similar to analytical montage, idea-associative montage is still a matter of
subjective interpretation. Here, imagery recognized as sequenced together due to
similarity or contradiction was noted while attempting to interpret the tertium quid
intended by the editor in creating this particular montage.
This study also paid attention to the use of transitions, or cuts, as these techniques
can also add meaning to a sequence. Zettl defines a hard cut as, an instantaneous change
from one image to another (p.256). A dissolve is, a gradual transition from shot to shot

in which the two images temporarily overlap (p.258). As Zettl explains, the overlapping
of images can result in a separate meaning than the two shots alone, which is why it will
be acknowledged in this study. A fade occurs when, the picture either goes gradually to
black (fade-out) or appears gradually on the screen from black (fade-in), signifying, much
like a theater curtain, a definite beginning or end of a sequence (p.260). Additionally, a
dip is the pairing of a fade-out and a fade-in.
Coding Instrument
The coding sheet requires some detailed explanation, as this is the first instance of
such an instrument created for a television news editing study: A layout, similar to that
designed by David Bordwell (1979) for the purpose of film critique, was used in this
study. Fields (1988) presents a similar chart in his article outlining the qualitative analysis
of television news. The first step required the transcription of every word in each news
package, regardless of the source. The transcription was arranged in a Word file with
eight spaces between each line, leaving room for the next steps in the analysis. A
horizontal line, representing linear time, was then drawn above each line of transcription.
Next, each package was reviewed for the first time, paying particular attention to the
changing of each shot. The transition was marked along the horizontal line with either a
plain short vertical line (signifying a hard cut), or the notation of the particular kind of
transition used. Within the spaces representing each shot, a brief description of the shot
was included. This description was meant to serve only as the researchers reference.
Lastly, the package was viewed again in order to establish which kinds of montage
editing codes were recognizable. The codes were marked at the top of each space, along
with any other observations and notes. See Appendix C for the full content analysis
coding sheets of each package, arranged by editor, and in the order they were analyzed.


In-Depth Interviews
By using norms and routines research as a framework for this study, it was
possible to formulate the questions necessary to discuss the many layers of a television
news editors job. Once the packages were analyzed, that information, along with the
interview protocol (see Appendix A) were used to investigate the role of television news
editors, and the reasons behind their editing decisions. The packages were analyzed first
for the sake of having some common ground to fall back on in case there were any lulls
or miscommunications during the interviews. After all, Schaefer warned that editors do
not share a language, and the simplest way to avoid talking about foreign matters is to
talk about the editors own work.
The interviews were conducted in Denver, May 10th and 11th, 2007. Each
interview was allotted a morning or afternoon time slot. Kehe interviewed on Thursday,
May 10th at 9:00 a.m. Weister interviewed at 5:00 p.m. on that same day. Harrity
interviewed on Friday, May 11th at 9:00 a.m., and Shea interviewed that same day at 1:00
p.m. Each editor was asked to fill out a demographic survey and a consent form
explaining that they would spend approximately two hours discussing their professional
history, editing philosophies, and perception of their role in the news-making process.
The editors were informed that they would not be compensated for their time but that
their participation would ensure that they are recognized as leaders in their field.
The interviews were recorded digitally and later transcribed by the researcher, resulting
in 56 pages of single-spaced, 10-point font scripts (see Appendix B). The interview
protocol only served as a guide for the questions asked. To investigate television news
editing norms, the participants were asked questions such as, Describe for me the
elements of good news editing. In order to unveil the routines of television news
editors, the participants were asked questions such as, Do you edit better pieces when

you are the shooter? Each interview naturally veered off in the direction of each editors
interest and area of experience. Harrity, for example, was mostly interested in discussing
the current state as well as future of the news industry. His management role as senior
news editor clearly influenced his preference to speak about business matters. Kehe, on
the other hand, was greatly focused on education and the art of storytelling. As an awardwinning photojournalist, Kehe travels to schools and NPPA workshops to educate his
peers about the techniques and importance of storytelling journalism. His expertise was
apparent during his interview; he voluntarily provided his lecture notes, which included
the areas of writing, sound, shooting, and editing.


Chapter 5. How Editors Tell Stories

Content Analysis
It is important first to recognize that this sample of work is, by definition,
atypical. Firstly, this is a select group of editors who are singled out for their years of
experience and recognition by their peers as exceptional editors. As defended in the
methods section, award-winning editors set the trend for others to follow, the extent of
which will be addressed in the discussion section. Secondly, these editors selected the
content on their own, from the many packages they have created over the years. This
sample of packages reflects each editors perception of his body of work and the extent of
his capabilities.
Hard and Soft News
From the analysis, it became clear that hard and soft news packages were easily
distinguished by editing style: Hard news packages consisted mainly of hard cuts, while
dissolves and dips dominated the soft news packages. Some of the soft news packages
contained music, while music clearly had no place in hard news. The editors used only
idea-associative montage, in the form of cross-cut interviews, in many of the hard news
pieces, while the soft news pieces contained combinations of every one of Zettls
montage categories. Over all, the editors explained that their purpose of using these
storytelling techniques was to make the viewer empathize with the photojournalists
interpretation of the original experience. As Kehe explains, theres got to be a reason
and a purpose behind every edit (p.4).
Occasionally, as was the case in stories about human tragedy, hard news and soft
news styles overlapped: the pieces about 9/11 and Columbine, although hard news topics,
contained soft news elements such as dissolves and transpositions. Kehe explains that
dissolves give the impression that one is experiencing a dreamlike state. In Weisters 9/11

piece called Oh My God, just as with Kehes funeral piece called Fallen Hero, the
experience felt like a bad dream for the people involved, so the editors intended to have
the audience empathize with that experience through their many-layered dissolves.
Weister, who mainly edited news in the nineties, edited Oh My God in a way that stood
out from the rest of he analyzed packages because of his use of a box effect. A box
effect is what Zettl calls a special transitional effect (p.261). With this effect, an editor
can maintain shot A in the background while floating shot B simultaneously in a smaller
square over top shot A. This effect was indicative of the new, non-linear editing
technology; this is not an effect that one would likely find in a news package today, but
may have been popular due to its unique look at the time. This is a case where an editor
believes at a given point in time that he is making the best choice for the piece, but is also
showcasing a new technology for the sake of impressing the viewer, fellow editors, or
possibly even himself. As a variation of a transposition, this effect was another example
of soft news elements found in hard news stories about human tragedy.
Overall, the most common montage technique observed was the use of ideaassociative montage. The editors used this technique in both hard and soft news
packages. The editors cross-cut interviews, or sound-on-tape (SOT), in order to achieve a
conversation between people on the screen. This technique of cross-cutting SOTs
highlights the similarity between subjects perspectives, resulting in the tertium quid of
the sharing of human experience.
Reporter Presence
Some techniques emphasized the fact that this sample was atypical: Most of these
stories, for example, did not contain any sort of reporter presence. Although reporter
presence is included in traditional news packages, these storytelling editors managed to
tell their stories solely with visuals and natural sound. Editors appropriately refer to these

packages as nat sound stories. Harrity and Weister both admit that a good storyteller
can commonly work around using a reporter in a story. Harrity believes that, its
almost like the high art of editing, of storytelling, is to be able to tell a story, stand alone,
by itself and it doesnt need a reporter track (p.10).
Narrative Editing Norms
This content analysis reveals editing techniques that are currently in fashion. The
fact that box effects, as was defended earlier, are no longer commonly used is a matter of
conventional style. Editing techniques that remain unaffected by trends, however, are the
techniques of narrative video editing. The NPPA promotes a strong foundation in these
techniques. Just as Gans and Tuchman analyzed journalistic norms by observing work
routines, so too can narrative editing norms be analyzed. Journalists strive for norms such
as objectivity, newsworthiness, and authenticity. Narrative editors strive for such norms
as drama and characters.
A particular dramatic element was apparent in the soft news packages: the
intricate transition effect. Traditional cuts were often replaced by two different kinds of
transitions: natural sound transitions or accelerated (often times single frame) montages.
Rather than use a dissolve or a dip to black, these editors used natural sound from the
piece to move between themes. Following a comparison montage about one theme, a
sound signified movement to the next theme. Weister used this technique in his Silver
Gloves story: Throughout the package, Weister used the sound of the boxing match bell,
which, in reality, signifies the end of a round, to represent the transition to a new theme.
Weister explains that, in the seven hours he spent shooting the package, the bell was a
dominant part of the experience, which he wished to relay to the viewer. Shea used the
same technique of natural sound transitions to create an eerie, X Files feeling in

Radomes. With each transition between shots of the mysterious radome, Shea
incorporated a loud, dramatic boom. News editors are discouraged from bringing
unrelated sound into a sequence because it is too sensational and film-like, but in this
case it was celebrated because the boom was a naturally occurring sound that provided a
memorable surprise moment in the package: the boom was actually the sound of the rope
used to knock the snow off of the radome. Shea used this technique to emphasize that,
while the rope makes an evocative sound, these radomes are not mysterious at all. The
accompanying interview explains that people believe these radomes to be more
suspicious than they are, and the techniques used in this package accurately reflect this
Accelerated montages also served as transitions between themes in these
packages. This technique, which the editors occasionally called the single-frame
montage, was prevalent in the soft news packages. Accelerated montage, in this case,
refers to metric montage, edited to a musical or natural beat, which is notably faster than
the rest of the pacing in a package. Sometimes the accelerated montage was set to the
music in a package, such as in Kehes Thunder Mountain, or Sheas Sports Woman
packages. The break in a song was represented by a rapid succession of images, matching
the beats in the music. Other times there was no music to dictate the pace, such as in
Kehes Saving Jerred, or Weisters Silver Gloves packages. In Saving Jerred the pace
ebbed and flowed along with the mood of the story, while in Silver Gloves, Weister used
the natural sound of the boxers breath to guide the beats of the single-frame montages.
Accelerated montage helped build drama in the stories. The pace increased in
Kehes Broken Hearts when the doctors were racing against the clock to get Laurens
new heart transplanted into her. As Kehe explains it, the tension increased in the package
because that was how it happened in reality: youre trying to create an effect of a

hurried, hectic, crazy pace youre trying to deliver the heart before this child expires in
a hospital (p.4).
Repetition was another dramatic technique used by these editors. Although this
kind of montage technique was not addressed in Zettls list, many of these editors used
repetition to emphasize a concept or to build tension. They accomplished this either
through the repetition of a sound or an image. Like idea-associative montage, repetition
created a deeper meaning by emphasizing the importance of the repeated sound or image.
In his Stay on the Line piece, Weister used a recording of the Denver 911 hold message to
build tension and frustration by repeating and overlapping the recording. This was
Weisters artistic interpretation of how the subjects, who called 911 when they found
their cousins murdered body, said they felt when they each called for help and spent five
minutes on hold listening to that recording. Just as natural sound and accelerated
transitions add to the dramatic style of news editing, so too can the use of repetition.
Narrative editors also strive to incorporate a sense of character into their
packages. One technique these editors used to develop characters was sectional-analytical
montage. This montage technique slows down time and allows the viewer to experience a
moment that is more personal than the overall storyline. Each of these editors is a
product of a different decade. As such, different styles were apparent from each editors
packages: Kehe, who starting editing in the 1980s, produced stories with a much stronger
sense of characters than did Sheas pieces, which he created in the late nineties through
today. Whereas Kehe and Weisters packages contained sectional analytical montages,
Sheas packages did not. This, however, does not reflect poorly on Sheas ability to tell a
story; the temporal nature of television news is often a factor. Sectional analytical
montage is more time consuming because it requires the photographer to collect involved

footage of the subjects experience. An editor cannot build this kind of storytelling
element without the proper footage. The lack of sectional analytical montage in Sheas
work is an indication of the decreasing amount of time photographers spend shooting a
package. Kehe, for example, shoots his own packages while Shea does not. Weister,
whose packages also had stronger character development than did Sheas, worked as a
shooter-editor as well. Shea, then, must work with the footage he is provided, and this
footage may lack the intimate shots necessary for proper character development.
Working Without Footage
Just as Shea may not have had the right kind of footage to create a sectional
montage, Weisters Stay on the Line piece was a case of a hard news story containing
very little useful footage. Weister was able to draw upon his narrative editing skills in
order to elevate a visually uninteresting piece to the level of an award-winning story. He
managed to edit this hard news piece in a manner befitting a special project, leading to
his winning editor of the year. Weisters intention was to make the audience empathize
with the subjects experiences. He used accelerated montages to add to the sense of
panic; dips and dissolves to take the viewer between concepts of past and present tense;
transposition of images such as a photo of a young lady overlapping police lights in order
to create the tertium quid that this girl was the victim of a crime; repetition and
overlapping of the 911 recording to emphasize the frustration of hearing this sound; and a
collision montage by showing the phrase to serve and protect along with the voice of
the hold recording. Harrity believes that, [Weister]s piece was a great example of no
video to work with and he made it an effective story (p.3). Under conventional norms
and routines, an editor would not have known how to produce this package, as it lacked
the necessary continuity footage, and it would have gone unaired. A strong foundation in
narrative editing techniques was the key to Weisters success in this package.

Montage and Narrative

It would appear, based on this content analysis, that Schaefers observations are
correct: there is evidence of montage editing techniques in television news packages.
However, here is where the difference lies between quantitative and qualitative analysis
of the same phenomenon: By the logic presented in the introduction and literature review,
it would follow that an increase in montage editing means an increase in the useful
narratives on which society depends. If this were the case, the news media would be
increasingly fulfilling their role as purveyors of social narratives and educators of citizens
through the use of montage editing techniques. The criticism discussed in the literature
review, however, is that news is progressively teaching citizens less and less. How, then,
can there be an increase in the techniques for creating useful social narratives, but not an
increase in information?
Eye-Candy Editing
The literature review outlined Bayms continuum between mimetic and diegetic
storytelling: On the one end are stories that appear to be unmediated. This is most
similar to pure account editing. Editors learn to employ continuity skills in order to make
their work appear seamless. On the other end of Bayms spectrum is diegetic storytelling.
Here stories are overtly mediated, constructed for the audiences appreciation. This
concept is closely related to soft news. Critics of soft news stories commonly point out
the entertainment value of such a construction, which, as they see it, can only serve to
entertain and not to properly inform. This study reveals an important addition to Bayms
spectrum: eye candy pieces, also known as MTV editing. Eye candy editing is defined
by the use of special effects or montage techniques that do not further the story in any
useful way. This style of editing is purely entertaining by its display of technology and,
often times, overt attention to the music.

The subjects in this study all make distinctions between editing for the story and
editing for fellow editors. Harrity believes that, eye candy is the temptation of the
younger generation to impress their person in the next booth (Harrity, p.2) This is still
technically considered good editing but not good storytelling. The eye candy pieces
have, nothing to do with the viewer (p.2). Shea, who is of this younger generation,
agrees: I think we each kind of feel, feel this pressure because were around so many
talented editors that I gotta show off a little bit (Harrity, p.5). Shea makes a similar
distinction between storytelling and eye candy, explaining that some editors edit for their
peers and some editor edit, whats best for the story. Not whats best for me, not what
will win me an award, but whats best for the story (Shea, p.7). Some editors, therefore,
are creating montage-edited pieces that are technically proficient, but that do not contain
the useful narratives that society expects from news stories. It is important to note here
that, the award-winning participants in this study did not provide eye candy pieces for the
analysis. They recognized the value of proper narrative editing and the importance of
providing viewers with useful social narratives over flashy music videos with little
educational substance.
Harrity and Weister both cite Kehes Thunder Mountain package, which is a
sports package, as an example of saving a potential eye candy piece with the help of
Kehes keen sense of storytelling. It could have been a music video of a car race,
Harrity defends, but he took it and got the characterseffectively used up a bite that
normally wouldnt have been used because you cant hear itthat separates to me for
someone that says well that was a music video (Harrity, p.3-4). Although the
participants of this study did not provide eye candy pieces for analysis, they were all
interested in critiquing this style of news editing. The discovery of this previously
undisclosed form of montage editing is a great example of the importance of qualitative

research; just as Tuchman (1977) describes, qualitative research can not only provide indepth analysis of existing forms, it can also uncover rejected forms as well as forms that
are considered unacceptable.
Montage editing techniques cannot tell stories by simply being present; It is
necessary for the editor to know how to apply a deeper meaning to the package. These
montage elements are not just a way to impress the viewer or to showcase editing
technologies, these are the codes that emphasize the human experience in television
news. When they are compromised by eye candy editing, the viewer ultimately loses out.
Although editors may learn to employ the montage editing techniques observed by
Schaefer, Baym, and this study, one cannot draw conclusions about intentions without
interviews with the editors. Schaefer argues that these interviews cannot be conducted
because editors do not share a common language but, as the next section will illustrate, it
is possible to interpret the varied language of television news editors through the lens of
norms and routines research.


Chapter 6. Why Editors Tell Stories

Satisfying the needs of shareholders and satisfying the needs of viewers are the
functions of two different sets of norms and routines. Account norms and routines ensure
that facts are provided accurately and efficiently in a manner suiting the financial
interests of the station. Narrative norms and routines present the human experience to the
viewer in both an entertaining and informative way. However, as the editors themselves
describe in this section, creating packages that benefit the viewer tends to impose on the
needs of the shareholders. These interviewees express that, when viewers and
shareholders both require the attention of newsmakers, the viewers often lose out.
Account Editing
From an economics perspective, the expectations placed on broadcast journalists
are simple: news is a business and employees should produce work that earns the most
money for the business in the least amount of time. This attitude exists in all news
stations as all stations are run under the advertising-funded system discussed in the
literature review. This is the current overarching norm of television news. As such, all
television news editors must learn the routines of this advertising-funded system. While
many of these techniques are taught at school, young editors are trained in the business to
become proficient at looking for visual cues such as black holes, jump cuts, and other
visually distracting elements in their pieces in order to create clean, quick, and accurate
Clean Editing
All four editors agreed that the key to cutting a successful news package is
making sure that it appears seamless. Continuity editing techniques ensure that news
packages appear as a camera-of-record. Weister believes that, You should be able to
watch an entire story an entire package an entire showand everything should be

seamless (p.7-8). Editors are the proudly forgotten members of the newsmaking team.
When they are doing their jobs correctly, nobody notices, and that is how they prefer it to
be. Shea notes that, the most important thing we do is reinforce whats being saidif
youre doing your job right, if youre reinforcing whats being saidpeople will notice it
on a very small level, but, when you dont do it, they notice it in a big way (p.2). An
important part of the job of an editor, then, is to be unnoticed, which students of editing
know requires a great deal of editing experience.
Additionally, according to these editors, the advent of non-linear technology
affects the task of editing seamlessly. Harrity notes that, if you read the contest now
compared to seven years ago, it says the wordseffects are allowed but not necessary
(p.2). A commonly recognized result of the shift from tape-to-tape to non-linear is a
tendency for editors to use the new technology to cut corners, instead of using
foundational, continuity editing rules to solve challenges. Kehe explains that tape-to-tape,
required a lot more thoughtThats one of the benefits to it though, because I do see
this a lot: I see sloppy editing because of the temptation to use dissolves and effects and
things (p.2). Kehe believes that the rules of continuity are, becoming a lost art
because all the effects are available to the editor now (p.2). Kehe explains that the rule is
make sure youre putting reason behind every edit and if you can do that then
youre making the edit for the right reason. If you make an edit because youre in
a hole and the only way to get from this place to this place is to render a dissolve
or dip to black or put in a flash of white, in those instances, I think youre using
editing as a crutch and not as a tool (p.8).
The general policy expressed by both Harrity and Kehe is that less is more and
Harrity believes that effects are best saved for those instances where there is not enough
useful video to put a good package together (p.2). Through each of their independent
training experiences, editors learn to carry out these routines in order to adhere to the

norms of account editing. Maintaining routines such as clean editing allows stations to
promote their stories as realistic accounts, which satisfies the expectations of the viewers.
This routine also supports the stations need to save money because, as editors become
more proficient at this mechanical process, they can edit faster. This allows the station to
employ fewer editors, or have their editors produce more work.
Great Visuals
Young editors coming up in the business often times initially believe that their job
is to take the bad parts out of news video. This results in a lot of cutting. Both Shea and
Kehe admit that they initially believed that their job was to put a lot of edits into a
package. Kehe explains that, I thought that the more edits I put into a sequence the
harder I was working and the better job I was doing because my job was to edit, so I was
going to edit and lay as many shots down and get as much there as I possibly could
(p.4). Editors are later trained to understand that their job is actually to find the best
visuals available in order to package a story well. Kehe elaborates that, after a while I
realized that my job as the editor is to make sure that the best material gets on the air for
our viewers (p.4). Shea confirms that, when youre an editor your job isnt to take the
bad parts outI put the good parts ina bad editor would just hack video togetherA
good editor will find the best shot to tell the story (p.2). To Harrity, all is lost when he
is, so distracted by the editing that [he has] lost track of the story (p.4). Harrity has
spent the last decade as chair of the NPPA editing awards and, as such, has reviewed
every entry in the competition. To him, bad editing starts with distractions. These can
either be technical or content-based. Pieces that offend the norms of continuity editing,
such as shaky video or unintentionally distracting jump cuts, immediately set up red
flags for Harrity that the package is probably not ready for the competition.


This insight takes time and experience. The rule of thumb, according to Kehe, is a
ten year plan: the first five years that you get into the business you are consumed in
learning the technical end of everything that you do (p.3). Those first five years are
spent learning the norms and routines of account editing. The routine of selecting the best
video, just like clean editing, also benefits the station because editors spend less time
trying to improve low quality video with editing techniques. Instead, editors learn to scan
through hours of raw footage in just minutes, looking specifically for footage that is not
shaky, underexposed, or poorly framed. In fact, speed in television news editing is a
greatly appreciated skill.
In the nineties, news stations began to transition from tape-to-tape technology to
non-linear equipment. For professionals, the switch meant the possibility of having more
time to complete their projects and work on individual stories. Harrity explains that it is,
infinitely more difficult to cut a really good story, a well told story, under deadline in
a tape-to-tape environment (p.8). Non-linear technology filled a need for increasing the
speed of production. The industry, however, illustrated its priorities to suit the
shareholders by pushing the capabilities of the technology to produce more of the same
level of work rather than increasing the quality of the original number of stories in a
newscast. The ability to produce more news not only resulted in more stories in an
individual newscast, but also in more newscasts. Kehe notes that, theres a noon, a four,
a five, a six, a ten, and four hours in the morning from five until nine. Thats a lot of
editingnot a whole lot of time to really develop your editing skillsYou get really fast,
productive, efficient, but that doesnt always mean youre going to get better (p.3).
Editors, then, are expected to develop their speed in order to create more products, which
results in an increase in profits for their station, but they are not expected to improve the

quality of their work for the sake of the viewers. Whereas the NPPA created an editing
competition to judge the value of the art of editing, editors are increasingly expected to
treat editing as a business first and foremost.
An interesting example of the compromising of the art of editing is cross training.
Nowadays, due in part to the accessibility of the technology, and the high demands on
worker productivity, managers are also cross-training many of their reporters, producers,
photographers and even their anchors in editing. People who, otherwise, may have no
interest in learning how to edit are now expected to possess the basic skills of continuity
editing. The concern from the editors is that, theyre going to make it a skill for so
many people, but its not their primary skill that I could see wherethe quality might
drop as far as editing goes (Weister, p.12). Harrity trained his anchors to edit on the
week of his interview. He, sat there and watched them cut their own VOSOT. Were they
great VOSOTS? No. But appropriate for the air? Yes (Harrity, p.7). It seems that the
news industry is repeatedly choosing quantity over quality. News stations value oneman bands, and hybrid workers over specialized artists and larger teams of
photojournalists because these choices have greater short-term financial benefits.
Readers, VOs, VOSOTs, and Packages
Conventional local news broadcasts are consistently comprised of four standard
elements: readers, in which the anchor reads an account without accompanying video
(although usually with an accompanying over-the-shoulder graphic); voice-overs (VOs),
which start out like a reader, but transition into the anchors voice heard over
accompanying video; voice-overs combined with interviews (VOSOTs), which combine
readers, VOs, and also a quote from a interviewee; and, finally, packages. Packages
require more time and cost more money than other elements of a newscast. Packages are
pre-shot, and pre-recorded stories that are essentially numerous VOSOTs strung together

by a storyline. Instead of listening to the anchor read, reporters commonly record any
voice-over in a package. While packages can produce useful narratives in news, todays
news stations, according to Weister, focus on the production of readers, VOs, and
VOSOTs. These types of stories do not last more than a minute, and are cheaper to
produce because they take less time to write, shoot, and edit. The decision to run more
readers, VOs, and VOSOTs satisfies the needs of news managers who are interested in
cutting corners, but it poses a problem for storytelling journalists.
Competing Norms and Routines
Recognizing the economic influences on television news, one can analyze the
norms and routines of journalists in a wider context. Schaefer (2001) noticed that editors
do not share a language because they are all products of varying sets of norms and
routines. Evidence of this comes from the editors themselves: Weister outlines editing
norms as consisting of three predictable characteristics: fast, accurate and creativefast
because youre under deadlineaccurate because if you shot the wrong person youre
going to be sued. You need to be creative because thats what sets you apart from
everybody else (Weister, p.5-6). Editing quickly is a shared norm among editors. The
news is, among other things, timely. Deadlines are crucial there is no such thing as
delaying the show because the production team needs more time. The news must go on.
Accuracy, as Weister explains, refers to showing the right person or scene in relation to
the script. The editors also talk about having clean edits, meaning no flash frames
between shots, or camera movements within shots. These editors also expect the use of
the best shot available. Together, these elements outline the conventional norms of
television news editors. Weisters norm of creativity, however, is an outlier in an
otherwise shareholder-based set of processes. Weisters list actually represents a marriage


of two different sets of priorities: account editing, which supports the needs of the
economic structure, and narrative editing, which supports the needs of the viewer.
Narrative Editing
The second phase in an editors ten-year plan is something that, today, few editors
in a television station that embraces storytelling, the next five years youre
training and focusing on your storytelling and thats a whole other area and thats
why we call them photojournaliststhe best photojournalists are the
photojournalists that can take an assignment take a concept and turn it into a
story (Kehe, p.3).
When Kehe teaches storytelling techniques at colleges, NPPA workshops, or to
his employees, he does not focus on the techniques of continuity editing. Instead, he
introduces editors to a separate list of editing routines. Whereas economics inspire
account editing routines, narrative editing is influenced by social responsibility.
Kehe explains that if he were restricted to the norms and routines of account
editors, he would have quit the news business long ago: Its why I can do the news. If I
did it the other way, I couldnt do it. If I just went out, shot a bunch of pictures, and
couldnt put the stories in proper perspective, I wouldnt do this (Kehe, p.6). He then
introduces a concept that he calls iteam(p.5). Kehe believes that it is his role to team
up with the viewer in order to, inspire, tech, entertain, enlighten, make a difference in
the viewers lives and thats a standard that I try and hold to all of my storiesIm trying
to evoke some sort of emotion and elicit some sort of response in people, motivate them
to make a change (Kehe, p.5-6). This is a drastically different set of norms from those
that inspire conventional news editing, and these norms cannot be accomplished with
account editing routines. Kehe is not only motivated by the need to appease his bosses, he
also believes that, as a photojournalist, he serves a greater social purpose. Narrative
editing norms are built on this notion of social responsibility. Kehe is able to incorporate

these narrative norms and routines into his daily work because he and Harrity, who both
greatly support storytelling photojournalism, are in positions of authority at KUSA and
both ensure that storytelling is a priority for themselves and their workers.
Shea, on the other hand, who does not work in a storytelling station like KUSA,
sees his job as having a different priority: To me I look at it that the priority has to be the
newscast. If Im not making every VO every VOSOT every tease look as good as it
possibly can then we dont have the other stuff (p.3). Account editing is Sheas first
priority because, as he sees it, VOs and VOSOTs are the meat of a television news
program. Packages that will attract attention, and are allotted extra time by the station, are
what Shea calls special projects. For Shea, these projects are only available if the
regular newscast is successful and he notes that, some people are more concerned
about doing special projects and more than concerned about doing the show (p.2). Shea
does recognize, however, that growing up in Denver means, for him, an affection for
storytelling journalism: Denvers a weird marketIts always beensuch an
importance placed on pictures and storytelling and, even before I was aware of what that
stuff was, we kind of knew that, you know, this was done well (p.1). While Shea values
the opinions of his NPPA colleagues, he prioritizes account editing norms and routines,
and views storytelling, in the current state of news, as the content of special projects that
fall outside daily norms and routines.
Weisters point of view is similar to that of Kehe. In fact, it was Kehes visit to
Weisters class during his undergraduate program that inspired Weister to become an
award-winning editor: Id seen this NPPA stuff, Id seen guys like Eric and Id seen
their work and seen these NPPA tapesand I said to myself thats what I want to do
(p.1). Weister describes an environment in which his desire to compete in the NPPA
awards meant shooting and editing on his own time. In other words, the work he was

capable of producing on the clock was less likely to meet Kehes iteam standards.
Weisters personal priority was his craft, but, at work, his responsibility was, to stay
profitable, make sure everybody keeps their jobs. Is that why I do it? No. Thats why TV
stations are in business. I do it I mean I did it because it was my only joy in an otherwise
boring job of cutting VOs and VOSOTs all day (p.23). Weister felt he had to adopt
account norms and routines where he worked. The only opportunity he had to tell stories
was on his own time. He developed his craft as much as he could for his personal sense
of satisfaction and then he left the business. Really after the first time I won the
awardI did as much as I ever wanted to doI decided to leave the business because the
challenge was gone and there was no more motivation and the 90% of the time that I
spent cutting VOs and VOSOTs and re-tracking packages finally overpowered the 10%
of the time I got to cut stories (p.5). Weister won the NPPA editor of the year award for
two consecutive years and then left the news business to work for a company that
produces longer-form projects such as documentaries. His is the perfect example of the
downside of a system that prefers shareholders over viewers: eventually, those editors
who wish to engage in narrative editing norms and routines can become disenchanted
with the entire system and move on to industries like film or documentary where they
may find greater support for their art. If viewers need these editors to provide them with
useful narratives, and the system inspires talented narrative editors to leave the news
industry, then, as was stated earlier, the viewer ultimately loses out.
Two Sets of Norms
Kehe teaches editors to use narrative editing techniques to include such elements
as characters, moments, surprises, and drama (Kehe, 2007) and believes that the best
reporters in the country, apply the same storytelling skills to spot news that they apply to
their feature reporting, sports reporting (p.9). Editors, then, who learn to carry out

account routines by editing clean, fast, accurate pieces can still be considered technically
proficient, but their work is missing a quality that the NPPA and its members clearly
value: narratives in news. This is also why Schaefer recognized that editors do not share a
language: some editors, like Kehe, train at a station that supports storytelling. Other
editors, like Shea and Weister, come up in a system that promotes continuity editing first
and foremost. Sometimes these editors determine early on that editing is a craft that its
practitioners are meant to hone, even if it means learning from sources outside of the
station in which they work. Storytelling skills, then, come from three main sources:
station training, which is rare; outside training, such as NPPA workshops that fall outside
daily routines because they are voluntary and demand the editors own time and money;
and, lastly, learning by mimicking the work of other editors.
Storytelling Tools
The editors in this study commonly refer to their having a toolbox (Kehe, p.12)
or what Weister calls his bag of tricks (p.2). Just as Schaefer recognized, editors learn
by watching other editors. Weister admits that he will, watch movies, documentaries,
NPPAnews reels, things like that. And Ill see stuff on it I like and, oh, theres another
tool I can put in my toolbox (Weister, p.12). When editors get together for the NPPA
workshop in Oklahoma, we just call it a big den of thieves (Weister, p.12). This
attitude is considered responsible and is justified by saying, to make the product better
and to make it better for everybody youre willing to share those ideas. It just makes the
product better for everybody (Weister, p.12). These editors believe that narrative norms
and routines support the social responsibilities of television journalists, and are willing to
dedicate their own time to developing these skills.
Editors who do not know, or do not wish, to participate in NPPA workshops, and
whose stations do not promote narrative norms and routines, may only adhere to account

editing norms and routines. According to the four interviewees, it is very rare to find a
station nowadays that promotes storytelling. Some stations, once known for their
storytelling photojournalists, have now transitioned away from narratives, placing
priority on continuity norms and routines. In the case of KSTP in Minneapolis, Weister
recalls, the station employed a new news director whose priority it was to focus on
turning a profit. As a result, most if not all of the editors and photographers either quit or
were replaced. The demands of the shareholder-based system of newsmaking are slowly
encroaching upon those who consider themselves narrative editors. Time is money, and
storytelling simply takes more time than creating accounts.
A Price on Education
Account editing norms and routines produce passable, but not necessarily
memorable news packages. Effects research (Lang, et al., 2003) as well as agreement
from industry professionals points to the significance of storytelling as a method for
increasing understanding of information from news packages. Advertising revenue,
however, is dependent upon viewer eyeballs, and not upon understanding or subsequent
action. The problem is that storytelling is time consuming and, therefore, expensive. At
least, it is more expensive than training editors to create accounts. Weisters Silver
Gloves package, for example, required several visits to the boxing club in order to
establish a relationship and a comfort level with the participants, as well as seven hours
of shooting on the day he captured the footage. Some editors recognize the value of
narrative editing for the benefit of the viewers. The resistance coming from some news
managers, however, is indicative of an industry bound by financial obligation to
shareholders over its social obligation to the viewers and this resistance is causing an
identity crisis.


News and the Identity Crisis

The news media are the country's primary providers of adult education, day in,
day out, teaching millions of people about what is going on in the world. One of
their courses is "News and Democracy." According to a mostly unwritten
professional creed, journalists aim to turn readers into informed, participatory
citizens who will use the news to protect and advance democracy. An excellent
idea. It's not working. (Gans, 2003).
One of the main themes that came up during these interviews is an overwhelming
sense of uncertainty about the role and future of the news industry. The literature review
outlined some dichotomies that exist in news: accounts and narratives, hard and soft
news, information and entertainment. The interviews revealed an additional and
compelling dichotomy in television newsmaking: the battle between shareholders and
viewers. According to these interviews, the further commercialization of news in the 20th
century developed an environment in which newsmakers feel that they must serve two
masters. Harrity explains that, We have to appease the shareholders but we also have to
appease the viewers and were in a desperate struggle (Harrity, p.11).
In news, the five Ws refer to the five questions that a reporter must answer: who,
what, when, where, and why. Hamilton (2004) outlines the modern version of the five Ws
in television news, saying that they are now, Who cares about information? What are
they willing to pay, or others willing to pay to reach them? Where can media outlets and
advertisers reach them? When is this profitable? Why is it profitable? (p.238).
Recognizing these economic priorities in news, Hamilton argues, allows researchers to
observe the norms and routines of journalists in the proper context. This priority was
often expressed in the interviews.
Before the Internet, television had a clear goal to deliver the news also available
on the radio or the newspaper, but with the advantage of moving pictures. Now the
Internet reveals the viewers demand for visuals and information to be instantaneous.

Television news has subsequently increased production in order to keep up with the
amount of information available on the Internet. Harrity recognizes that, weve lost our
identitywe dont know whether were the web. We dont know whether were in depth.
We dont know whether were supposed to tell stories (Harrity, p.10). The trouble is that
the Internet, by its very design, outperforms television when it comes to speedy
information. What the Internet does not provide, however, are quality visual narratives, a
strength held only by television. McManus defends that, television has an advantage
over print in presenting emotions efficiently(McManus, p.172). Shea recognizes the
Internet is not providing quality narratives when he says, I guess with the Internet
thing, the thing that interests me is the people that sit up and watch ten minutes of raw
video that well put in a whole raw tapeand to me it seemsits like watching paint
dry (p.4). Whereas the Internet can provide information quickly, it does not provide the
same human experiences as television, which narrative editors believe are definitive of
quality news. Narrative norms and routines coincide with the original perception of
journalism: an organization dedicated to upholding democracy. Storytelling journalism
provides viewers with the crucial narratives necessary for socialization. What television
journalists must do in order to break free of the current identity crisis is to stop competing
with the Internet and, instead, reaffirm the unique strengths of television news.


Chapter 7. Conclusion
Journalism and Democracy
The democratic system depends greatly on the participation of its citizens, and the
news media are meant to function as their Fourth Estate educators of the citizenry for
the sake of democracy. Modern television news, however, is providing too much
information in too short an amount of time because stations are struggling to keep up
with the news volume available on the Internet. What good, though, is information if
there is too much presented for a viewer to process? Timothy Cook (2005) defends that,
informing citizens is irrelevant to democracy unless that process leads to some political
outcome (p.119). Journalists, then, are expected to actually serve as educators as well as
mobilizers of the citizenry. Thorson defines mobilization as, motivating people to
engage with their governance systemscivic environment or public sphere (p.205).
This study outlines the significance of narrative structures in the inspiration of citizens
through the personalization of news. While there is no guarantee that narratives move
people to act politically more than do accounts, there is research to support that narratives
are more likely to be paid attention to and remembered.
Gans (2003) wonders whether America would be a more democratic society if the
news provided attractive information to the citizenry. He suggests a list of ways the news
could improve in order to appeal to otherwise unengaged citizens. Just as Zaller (2003)
saw value in soft news because it precipitates learning in viewers, Gans first suggestion
is to localize the news in order to increase viewership by making hard news personally
relevant to the viewer. Gans would agree, then, that narrative editors, whose strengths lie
in presenting the human experience, are the key to helping television news out of its
identity crisis. As the content analysis describes, storytelling can elevate soft news to


hard news quality and eye candy editing can degrade hard news to its salacious,
unimportant counterpart.
Storytelling also benefits the shareholders by setting one station apart from
another. All stations have the same accounts, but not the same narratives. Storytelling
could be perceived as financially profitable by marketing each station as a unique product
of originally produced narratives. Kehe supports this arguments when he says, its
gotta be different from all the other stories out there that the other stations are telling.
Thats why you cant just simply regurgitate a bunch of facts (p.9) There are many
people who, know how to push buttons, Weister explains, and have absolutely no idea
how to tell stories (Weister, p.6) and recognizing this distinction could prove profitable
for television news stations. Editors who come up in what may be only few remaining
storytelling news stations know how to get the viewers attention while still providing
useful information and shareholders need to recognize the value in narrative norms and
routines before television is devalued by the Internet.
Prior research has shown that people remember narratives better than accounts
(Lang et al., 2003). This thesis, similarly, shows that narratives contain techniques that
are attention-getting and emotional, and that editors can develop these skills and still be
efficient. Thus both teams are served. Yes, television stations may lose some money
in the short term, but in the long term viewers will return to the product from which they
are better served.
It is important to note here that there is one station that is attempting to combine the
needs of shareholders with the needs of viewers. KARE-TV, the Minneapolis station that
is touted as an excellent storytelling shop, has already implemented a plan to abate the
identity crisis: KARE-TV has both a traditional newscast as well as a long-form program

called Extras. Extras provides a platform for narrative editing by circumventing the
traditional news norms and routines that require efficient, account editing. Long-form
stories, such as the pieces that make up Extras, allow editors to focus on their storytelling
skills. Kurpius (2000) explains that,
KARE reporters and photographers are allowed, and even encouraged, to develop
stories to work on in the Extras unit. Though there is an Extra's unit staff, general
assignment staff can and do move in and out of the Extra's unit when stories
warrant extra airtime and preparation time (p.348)
By rotating their staff between formats, KARE experiments with the balancing of
loyalties between account and narrative editing norms and routines. This may prove a
successful way for news stations to maintain the high quantity of production that supports
station funding through account norms and routines, while increasing the quality of
stories through narrative norms and routines. Harrity, too, recognizes the value in doing
in-depth shows (Harrity, p.6). He would like to see more of it at his station. As a
manager, however, he acknowledges the business concerns of potentially alienating
viewers and he understands the hesitation from the business perspective.
Montage Editing Reconsidered
The most significant finding, relating to past montage editing research, that came
about in the content analysis is the dichotomy between narrative editing and eye-candy
(or MTV) editing. Just as there is a distinction between hard and soft news among
academics, there also needs to be a distinction between the different kinds of montage
editing. Narrative editing adheres to the norms of presenting drama, characters, and
moments. This kind of editing is meant to appeal to the needs of the viewer by being
entertaining as well as informative. Eye-candy editing stems from the editors desire to
impress his or her peers. Here, editors are more concerned with what looks cool rather
than what techniques best tell each story.

One ought to adapt this study to better determine the differences between storytelling
and eye candy editing in order to redefine the concept of worthwhile news. Narrative
montage editing is the educational, human-interest work valued by NPPA editors. This
kind of editing supports the needs of the viewers by providing informative pieces
containing useful social narratives. Eye-candy montage editing, on the other hand, is
purely entertaining. As Baym (2004) points out, this kind of editing is overtly mediated
and it distracts the viewer by drawing attention to the techniques and special effects used
while pulling attention away from any possibly available narratives. Just as Gans sees
soft news as being unimportant, so too is eye-candy editing, which can only serve the
needs of the shareholders by appealing to the entertainment desires of their customers.
In Schaefers 2001 study, he noted one unexpected finding: Schaefer noticed that
pacing was faster in his continuity-edited samples over the pace of the montage-edited
samples. He suggests as an explanation that, journalists are using montage for thematic,
rather than ornamental purposes (p.197). His comment touches on the observations
provided by this study: that, in fact, the pacing in montage-edited packages may be
affected by a greater number of narrative packages in his study rather than eye-candy
packages. Until now, there was no way to observe this phenomenon. Schaefer can now
re-contextualize his findings through the concepts presented in this study: the
subcategories of narrative and eye-candy editing within his umbrella variable of montage
The findings from this thesis can also be applied to current studies of editing
effects on viewers. This distinction between narrative and eye-candy editing provides a
unique series of variables not yet analyzed by experimental researchers such as Lang,
Potter, and Grabe. Until now, these researchers have observed the effects of editing on
viewer attention, learning, and memory with variables that did not include Zettls

montage editing techniques. Now, this study has opened the door for a new series of
possible studies for these researchers. Rather than apply the traditional concepts of
editing, these researchers can now study the effects of account editing versus narrative
editing on the news viewing experience.
The New Journalism
While the content analysis revealed the dichotomy between narrative and eyecandy editing, the interviews unveiled an identity crisis in television news stemming from
competition with the Internet. This crisis has led to a great deal of confusion in the
television news industry. There was a time when workers adopted individual job
descriptions that were independent from their colleagues: reporters, producers, anchors,
photographers, and editors each played a specialized part in the news making process.
Today, as these interviews support, there is an identity crisis, not only in television news
as an industry, but also in the individual roles of news workers. It is difficult to outline
the norms and routines of modern news editors because they rarely have one constant job
description anymore. Now there are cross-trained and hybrid workers: In the newsroom
there are photographer-editors, reporter-editors, anchor-editors, and editor-producers. .
Harrity explains that he, as an editor, is now expected to produce for the web: I am now
expected to not just do my editing job but also write for the web. And when I have free
time or even when Im training Im expected to go post more video, post more stories to
the web (p.5). For this reason, it is now more important than ever to establish a solid
foundation in narrative editing techniques, before these jobs become more and more
tangled. Those people who are loyal to the financial concerns of the television news
business are constantly searching for ways to save money and generate higher quantities
of production. Narrative editing skills, however, require time to learn as well as years of
experience to improve. Organizations such as the NPPA are instrumental in upholding

the role of photojournalism in the democratic system. They must continue to teach
storytelling skills to photojournalists before the advertisers stifle television news with low
quality entertainment. The participants of this study have made it clear that narratives
represent a higher standard of journalism, one that benefits the viewers as well as the
shareholders. However, the interviews also present an environment in which this style of
montage editing may be a dying art.
The Future
This is the first time that news visuals have been studied this way. There are,
therefore, many avenues down which this research can lead. The next logical step is to
expand this study nationally or internationally in order to compare the use of narrative
editing across markets or countries. This study is based on responses from only four
editors. It is important to see whether or not the information found here holds true for a
larger sample of news workers.
One need not restrict this research to editors. Other members of the news making
team such as writers, reporters, and photographers also play roles in the construction of
news narratives. This study can be adapted and applied to these other team members.
Perhaps there are similar concepts to the dichotomy of montage and eye-candy editing
existing in these other fields as well.
A third avenue for research concerns this studys focus on traditional news media:
If narrative norms and routines are stifled by traditional, advertising-based systems,
perhaps this is not the case in systems that do not depend on advertisers. News production
in countries like Canada, where the news is government-funded, or on public
broadcasting, where programming is viewer-supported, may provide alternative results to
the struggles of conventional American television news editors.


Final Thought
The interviews discussed in this study reveal daily expectations placed upon
television news editors. The content analysis, however, is not a product of daily routines
but, rather, a product of the desire of these editors to tell stories. In that respect, the
content analysis is a sample of best practice work in narrative television news editing.
This is what television viewers should expect from their news everyday: the product of
narrative norms and routines. Instead, most viewers are subject to the product of the
account norms and routines discussed in the interviews. As these interviews support, the
best news-editing product lies outside the conventional norms and routines that ultimately
support the needs of shareholders to produce the cheapest, most efficient show possible.
What account routines produce is not only insufficient for democracy, but it could
possibly deteriorate television news to the point where it is obsolete. Mediocre editing
affects everyone: viewers miss out on the rich social narratives that television news is
supposed to provide; the democratic system suffers from a collection of uninformed
citizens; and shareholders are unable to keep loyal customers because they provide a
product that is nearly identical to those of other stations.
Of course, the fate of television news does not rest solely upon the editors
shoulders. News is a team effort and narratives are constructed by a combination of
writers, photographers, and editors. Kehe, however, does note the following: Stories will
live and die in the edit bayYou can have great stories, you can have great moments,
you can have great execution, great photography, great reporting out in the field, but
when that balls coming in, the editors got to hit the homerun (p.13). The question is,
how do we get these editors to play for the right team?


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Appendix A. Interview Protocol

Where did you learn to edit?
How did you learn the right way to edit for news?
Are you held up to the same journalistic standards as reporters and photographers?
How did you learn about those standards?
Describe for me the elements of good news editing.
Describe for me some elements of bad news editing.
What happens to news editors who do not use good editing techniques?
What do you see as the differences between hard and soft news editing?
What do you see as the difference between news editing and film editing or documentary
Why do you think that news editors should be rewarded for adding narrative elements to
news stories?
The submissions that dont place in the competition what are they missing?
By entering/judging this competition, are you suggesting that the winners should be
considered the gold standard for fellow news editors?
Who chooses the shots you use in a package?
When you are logging your shots, what elements do you look for?
Do you edit better pieces when you are the shooter?
How do you edit hard news (This question may be tailored to specific packages
belonging to that editor)?
How do you edit soft news (This question may be tailored to specific packages belonging
to that editor)?
What routine changes have you seen in the newsroom in the last few years?
What are they are result of?

Have these changes affected your editing?

Do you see yourself as a storyteller?
How did you learn to edit this way?
On the one hand you have a need to produce ratings and the pressure to make great
television, on the other hand is the professional standard that news is meant to be as
close to an account of the days events as possible. So, how do you find that balance?
What do you see as the future of news editing?


Appendix B. Interview Transcriptions

Harrity Interview
Mike: You know almost every conversation I have you know like when I speak to students it turns where
the direction of the business is going. We get caught up in that conversation.
(00:06:35) Mike: Especially Eric and Brian had to travel as national award winners had to travel the
country and so they got to the point where they were used to that.
Keren: Brian was telling me that. He said that he had to go twice and it affected, not in a bad way, but it
affected to make more good news because he was so busy doing theits like congratulations you win now
you have no time to do that.
Mike: Im sure they all struggle with that. It recently crossed my mind that Josh, you know they do a
quarterly contest, and then they put out points you know if you get a first you get in whatever category I
think theres six categories or something and if you get a first you get a certain amount of points, second,
third, and then honorable mention. And then they have a point total and then the person that actually has the
most points at the end of the year is called the cutting edge editor of the year. And Josh hasnt shown up, I
dont know if he has any points. And I thought how ironic you know the editor of the year last year has not
even shown up in the contest. If he does its very low. Cause he doesnt have time. You know, hes hes
theyve got so much going on too with uh their station just transitioned to Avid Newsroom like ours did.
And so thats a lot of training a lot of different work flow. Theyre probably tied up with that and bogged
down and he already had to do speaking engagements at least one that I know of. He was invited to, Im
assuming he went. Right after the contest which is in March at the end of March is the Nationalin
Normand Oklahoma they have an NPPA, what do they call it, I just spaced it. And a lot of the big speakers
they invite the editor of the year, photographer of the year, various people to speak about the discipline and
its the big um
Keren: convention
Mike: Yeah. They dont call it a convention, I forget what they call it.
Keren: So, Im going to ask Josh about the transition to Avid.
Mike: I mean within the last two months they just went from tape to tape. They had Avid in the newsroom
but they were all offline. And they didnt have enough. They didnt have it set up like part of a news flow.
The workflow. So, if you wanted to do a special project they were DV Pro, tape-to-tape. They might have
had some of the Avid connected to each other on a landshare like a you know those four Avids may be
connected but not on a playback play out server system unity like its now.
Keren: Im just curious, and I dont mean to start at the end but our school uses Avid and we have a unity
connection like we have a pretty sweet set up really. But Im wondering if it, in the end, if its worth having
that or if it would have been better to teach them tape-to-tape?
Mike: Well, obviously because of the price and the cost its actually cheaper to put in a non-linear system. I
always mention that to people, you know, try to force yourself to do cuts only. And tape-to-tape forced you
to do that. Eric and I and probably Brian and Josh and all of us came from a background of tape-to-tape. I
dont know if theres a correlation but it is interesting that is I and maybe youll get the same feedback that
the quality of news went like this (signaling down) and the technology went like this (signaling up). I
wonder if theres a correlation or not. Because theyre learningits easy to be lazy. Because if the first
thing you learn is how you can get out of it by hitting dissolve or just you know making a wipe or
something you dont force yourself into I have to learn transitions through use of natural sound and shot
selection and things like that um sequencing and instead you go ah, Ill just put a dissolve. Technology is,
you know, like you said, you kind of dont trust it well Im not so sure its had, maybe had a negative


effect. Um, storytelling, especially at the early stages where people are learning, its just too easy to hit that
key and go the heck with it I can move on.
Keren: MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY ON DISSOLVES. You cant keep putting dissolves between two
shots it looks tacky.
Mike: Well, its an effect and youve lost your effect if you over use the dissolve. Then its no longer an
Keren: But I know we dont teach the alternatives because the technology is there.
Mike: Well who should be the teachers are the Erics and Brian should go to school and be the teachers. The
ones that have done it and can come back and say after 15 20 years of doing this, I have now learned how
to storytell effectively. And unfortunately youre looking at a textbook and any professor that knows you
know whats rudimentary like you know textbook type of teaching its not their fault. Most of the
professors havent worked, not all, but most of them havent worked in the field especially if they have its
been years since they have. So its hard I mean what are they teaching? The textbook is exactly that, its
kind of basic text book you know wide medium tight stuff. And to learn it you have to either be lucky
enough to work around someone who is really good at the craft of storytelling or you basically let them go
out in the workforce and TV stations and luckily find someone that they can, you know as a mentor that
knows how to do it right and the discipline of thats not good enough, thats good enough. Keep working
keep working keep working. I think even Eric would say that he could be better. Even though hes reached
what would be considered the pinnacle at one point but Im sure he still strives to do better and I bet he still
sees pieces that make him go wow. You know, and thats what I meant about the contest. You and I will
see today some pieces that this is something that made me go wow. I mean that was amazing. And I didnt
remember any of that last year. I have said cool. The music video style MTV stuff is like cool. I couldnt
have done it. But it doesnt necessarily tell a story. It was eye candy, you know? Um, and the eye candy is
the temptation of the younger generation to impress their person in the next booth to say howd you do that
oh thats so cool and like look what I did. And it has nothing to do with the viewer. In terms of telling a
story and kind of what you were saying about the whole concept of taking information and recreating it and
making me feel like I was there. You know, that would be telling a story. Not just information and facts but
making me feel like you feel the stress or the compassion for the people because it was well shot and
edited. And a lot of the editors will do this cool thing because theres a guy next to them will say yeah
thats cool.
(00:15:05) Keren: Where do you find a balance because some of that cool stuff leaks into the wow
Mike: You see it once in a while. But again its so easy to say was it appropriate. And they break the
categories down when I chaired the contest it was exactly that. We had this category called effects only.
Yeahit was called editors effects. And what happened was as the technology increased it became this
eye candy piece and it got away from storytelling. So if you read the contest now compared to seven years
ago it says the words effects are not necessary, um effects are allowed but not necessary. Meaning, if you
could tell the story with the effects better fine. Brain did a piece that I use a lot as an example of
appropriate use of effects and it was because it as a story. You may have seen it, its the story about the
911 call. Okay. He had a shot of a telephone. He had a 911 caller. And he had an interview with the family
or woman or something like that I cant quite remember exactly. And he effectively, no pun intended, made
use of multiple layers and movement and he even had like an echoey sound to 911 can I help you or
whatever. And that was appropriate use of effects. In fact that was awarded for the appropriate use of
effects. So we have been trying to spread this you know effects are um allowed but not necessary. Instead
of saying youre going to be rewarded because of the effects, and then the effects category became
anything goes. But still it should be appropriate. And theres definitely pieces that were harder to edit and
more eye candy that did not win because the editing judges thought okay what was appropriate use versus
the someone who just went crazy and you know went into the edit booth with a six pack and said I just
want to have some fun. And Brians piece was a great example of no video to work with and he made it an
effective story.
Keren: .the difference between information and entertainment. You know Im trying to make that
separation. Im trying to understand how news used to be perceived as information only and the criticism


that I read a lot now in academic papersis that its all salacious, its all entertainment, its all eye
candybut Im not convinced that the way that its being measured is necessarily fair. This way that
makes a more accurate distinction. Its like yeah, you can have some eye candy fine but there needs to be a
justification, appropriateness like youre saying, that is I think a good reason to do what Im doing and
what hopefully someone else can do after me and explain that difference.
(00:18:38) Mike: Well, you have to sell it. If you sell this as this is what happened today and you were
using slow motion or color effects to make images look more scary or make someone look more guilty by
slowing it down and darkening or something like that, thats not appropriate. But there are entertaining
pieces that are fun kicker type of or feature pieces that are just fun to watch that have nothing to do with I
wouldnt call it news but I think its appropriate that once in a while you want to see a fun piece. That piece
I was talking about that Eric had, its on, hopefully I had that station air tape or I have that piece on here
somewhere but it was just fun. These kids went to, you know these little kids went to hear the I think it was
the Denver Symphony and they were just really cute and theyre fun and Eric looked for the characters and
the pacing of it was fun and he found a kid picking his nose and it was just great. It was so well edited
togetherI didnt come out feeling anything after it but feeling good and laughing and smiling and thats
okay. You know, where you get into the tabloidy stuff thats where I have to say this isnt news this doesnt
feel like news. There was a controversial lead when Anna Nicole Smith died. Is it your lead story? And
then you get well its what everybodys talking about. I agree with some of the what is everybody talking
about and I think you have to cover it and then you have to discuss do you cover it and how do you cover it.
But we lead ourour 4 oclock was a little bit lighter stay home workers, a lot of moms, and their kids are
getting home some of it is a little more entertaining, I could see leading that show which we have an
entertainment reporter on that show with Anna Nicole. The 5 and the 6 we lead with it and I had to question
whether that was really worthy when you still have a war going on and you still have a lot of thing that I
found more newsworthy and thats where I get a little bitit doesnt really have to doits news judgment
and editorial editing its not necessarily video editing involved. But thats where, and likewise the editing
of a story, the eye candy piece may be strictly entertainment but its not reallyumagain what are they
doing this for? Do they really think the viewer is gaining some sort of benefit from this? At least Erics
piece on the children at the symphony was you got to see that they were on field trips and how much fun it
was and it was educational for them to be experiencing music and it was just all over a good feeling thing.
It doesnt give me any more necessarily information about the day but it was more worthy to me to fall in
the news cast than a music video or something like that. Where today there was a car race and it was like ch
ch ch ch ch ch ch you know and you like, I dont know well see pieces like that and
Keren: Eric did a piece like that.
Mike: Yeah, and that fell into, that was a sports piece. I remember exactly what youre talking about
Keren: Thunder
Mike: Thunder yeah and that was pretty ch ch ch ch ch but it also had um I felt like I was there. The
noiseagainmaybe thats a great piece to talk about because that could have been a music video and I
felt like that piece told me a story about how loud it was, how smoky it was, and he effectively used up a
bite that normally wouldnt have been used. Cause you couldnt hear it.
Keren: That was brilliant.
Mike: That kind of thing is what stuck. Right. Right. And I thought that was brilliant. And that was
something normally in a classroom they teach you dont use sound that you cant hear. Yet he purposely
chose that piece because he cant hear because youre at a drag strip, right? And that separates to me for
someone that says well that was a music video. Its like well I see a difference between he told me a story I
felt like I was there I felt, you know, the roar I felt, you know, I was entertained, he found the characters,
etc. etc. etc. A great example, that piece could have been worthless. Or it could have been a music video of
car races. But he took it and got the characters. It had a lot to do with the photography. And of course its
nothing until its edited and they used appropriate stuff. Erics big on look for those shots, memorable
shots, memorable characters, you have to let those characters tell the story. He did use music which we
dont use a lot of butyou know I mean I thought it brought something to the piece. We rarely use music
anymore. A lot more music in the 80s and the early 90s it was pretty popular thing to do you know musical
pieces and those kind of things. Sports still uses a lot of music. That would be a good example. I just think


the editor had a huge part in it and it broke some of the rules. Youd say no your going to use a soundbite
you cant hearbut it was appropriate at that point. And you know what I will sit there and say, I wont say
always or never, um I try not to. Because you get caught up, Ill tell you Ill never use a shot shorter than
this or Ill never use this and then youll see me use it and its like well because it was appropriate at the
time I try to stay away from that. And so its hard again textbooks tend to say dont do this or do do this or
you know youd never put these two shots together its called a jumpcut, but hopefully I can find that piece
and it was appropriate because he was telling a story about this organization of the mind of an Alzheimers
patient. And so theres all kinds of techniques. I do think though what is interesting to me is you see a
consistency of style amongst the great storytellers. I think that all of us that youll speak to and in general if
I took aI think most of us would all pick the same stories as like wow thats good. You dont typically
see somebody who goes oh that you know when somebodyyou know its interesting like that one story I
told you it took him a minute to kind of remove himself from like uh whatever and then he realized that his
(muffled) but most of us will all recognize, all four of us that youve talked to that we consider that good.
Cause stylistically we believe in that type of storytelling. I think that the viewer would enjoy it for the
reason of it told a story. They dont even know how to guess how good of an editor or what it took to put
that together. They would probably is they would seamlessly see a piece and say I didnt even notice there
was anything but I was caught up in the story. When Im critiquing stories my first flag that is raised is if
Im so distracted by the editing that Ive lost track of the story. Thats a bad sign. Cause Ill always watch it
the first time cause Im looking at it and hearing bad audio edits or seeing bad video edits. But if the very
first time through Im so involved in the story bingo. That was usually the key that I forgot to critique I
as an editor, I was so caught up in the story. Great you know what I mean? And thats a great, to me when
Im watching stories, thats almost always my first sign that its well done. Nothing distracted me so that I
was distracted for too long and thought, oh that edit, I could kill that person or oh my god that was a
horrible audio edit or the music is distracting. It just all falls together and I go what an enjoyable piece. Oh
crap I was supposed to dissect that wasnt I? And a lot of the best stuff will all fall into that category. I
think the viewer sometimes wont even know that todays argument, our director of operations and
technology gave us a little camera a hundred dollar camera that literally has a USB port that pops up and
you plug it in. And the question is or the argument I mean the rhetorical question do we really want to see
finely edited stories or do we just care about seeing the best video and I think theres an appropriateness for
if youve got the only shot of a plane going down I dont care if its shaky, I dont care if its black and
white, if thats the only shot then its going to be looked at and checkedlooked at a lot. (00:27:19) even if
its grainy. But youre going to have a standard general news story and its better told better shot better
edited hidef, who knows what, I would like to believe that if its more visually appealing there would be a
push to get it up than get everything and shoot and people really dont care and like I think they care.
Keren: Brian used the term spraying the scene.
(00:27:48) Mike: What would be considered bad photographerswere so lucky that the market is very
good. All the stations regardless of ratings all do great jobs. They really do. Some of the best storytelling
really has come down to two markets and its almost embarrassing. Either Denver or Minneapolis wins the
station of the year every year. Every year. Of the last twenty years I think theres been three stations outside
those two markets that have won it. Denver, Minneapolis and then Baltimore, Dallas. I dont know whose
won station of the year lately, but I know Baltimore did. Years ago station 24 in Oklahoma City won. Back
when I got in the business almost 20/25 years ago. But its almost always KARE, KUSA, KCNC whatever
(muffled) and I tell you I guess it tells you even more so when it used to be more competitive that its the
quality of what we consider, we as photographers and editors, consider great photojournalism is dropping
and theres only a couple of people keeping that bar up here. And I will tell you and I think Eric would
agree and probably Brian would say that even this market is starting to go to drop because we dont have
the time to storytell as much. We dont have the interest. I dont know if the stations emphasize that craft as
much. And if they do theyd make more time to hire more photographers so you have more time to do that
stuff and right now theres a push to get it on the air just go shoot one more story today, I know youve got
these two packages, but I want you to go shoot one more. And then you get less time to edit and less time to
shoot the main package. Oh God, Eric must be beside himself with frustration at times. I mean we added
another TV station and I think we added one photographer. A whole news half-hour newscast and no new
photographers. Not even a lot of more reporters. Right now were down to three I think. So how do you
gather this news? How do you spend time writing it nicely? How do you spend time editing it well? Its a
struggle however, maybe its because Im getting older, but Im so much more aware of the business side
of this business now than I was in my naive twenties. You know when I just thought we were here to do the
best journalism and I really believed that my VO was going to make a difference in that newscast and now


you realize that its about the business and theres such a struggle. Television stations are struggling. There
not making the gobs of cash that they used to. And were successful, I mean, we make money, but Im not
sure throughout the country and theres cutbacks I know 4 has had some layoffs recently and theyre O and
O I mean theyve got more money than we do in terms of being popular and theyre cutting back and the
equipment and no surprise again but corporate owned. Were going to spend a million and a half dollars
installing Avid how are you going to prove to me that this is going to be more efficient than save us money
in the long run. We dont just spend money for the heck of it. So, what is efficiency usually sells to your
people. You know lower salary less salary and so thats how you get your money. You convince the
corporation that your ownership that you can take this money and turn it into a profit somehow. And thats
because youre answering to the shareholders, right? I mean if we all owned a station ourselves, I mean if
Eric and the group of us owned this TV station wed probably have 40 photographers and wed do it what
wed consider the right way. Wed still make money, but not as much as they make now. But we wouldnt
be publicly sold. Where shareholders say you guys have been dipping down I dont have returns on the
investment anymore and the company suffers and so I would have never had this conversation fifteen years
ago. I wouldnt have even thought about it. And now you have to realize why are we dividing up the TV
stations and sending ourselves out. Why are we pushing stuff to the web that we wouldnt consider airing
on the broadcast side? Cause people will watch it and if people will watch it theyll go to the advertising
(muffled) its just a vicious cycle.
(00:32:11) Keren: I wrote for myself: News is a business. The common understanding from the
practitioners is that they must earn money for the company through high levels of production for the least
amount of money. Storytelling is a time-consuming process.
Mike: Ooh, yeah. Theres a conflict in interest isnt there?
Keren: I wrote: Good news needs storytelling.
Mike: Well, I dont know how to answer that. I think thats an open-ended question. I think I would like to
believe that fits in higher quality news. Thats interesting. Thats a great question. Because what is the
definition of news? Its information and I could look on a TV screen and see a picture hand-held, lowresolution of the riot or would I rather watch Erics piece of the riot which told the story and Im wondering
if it will break off into here was an excellent, and I will give credit to Jeremy Rosenberg, whos an editor
and chairs the quarterly contest over at KMGH channel 7, he said, if he had the ability to do so, he would,
because right now were being told push, push, push, push, weve literally changed the structure of this
newsroom to and we came up with a name for it, the Pulse. The project that Gannett as a corporate station
said all our stations are going to start working on the Pulse project. The Pulse of course came up as like
what is the real you know focus heart beat of and that is information distributed throughout technology.
The webs been around for a while but its growing quicker and quicker and we need to push this
information and we need to have everybody as web producers as content producers I am now expected to
not just do my editing job but also write for the web. And when I have free time or even when Im training
Im expected to go post more video, post more stories to the web. Push, push, push, push, push, and
eventually cell phone technology its not its there but its we, 9 news, we dont have the technology to
keep up with what you can one the web, but its getting there I can log on right now to see a headline
probably thats not been updated in two hours but its all coming its all there and thats what people want.
On the go. So, if thats where its headed, and were told through research that people want to kind of
selectively choose and, in their amount of little free time, I see people at Starbucks now with their
computers open just kind of doing their work wearing cell phones all the time. We just want to know real
quick what happened, whats related, how many people were affected, (muffled) and I need to get back to
my thing. The number of people sitting down to a newscast and saying Im going to stop my busy day and
Im going to sit down and watch especially wait for the old technique of well keep you around for weather,
we know you want to know about weather but were going to keep you around for twenty minutes
hopefully watching, you know, now thats over. I mean, everybody still does it and does weather last or
third, before sports, but nobody, they can go to any of these search engines and yahoo to get my weather. 9
news dot com get my weather, you know? So, Jeremy thought that, if were telling that all they want is
little tid bits of stuff, what are they missing in the cast? So this thought, and I agree, I more and more agree,
maybe our newscast at the end of the night, should be what were the big stories of the day we go out and
send all our resources to report gather information shoot it and edit it so that at 10 oclock you get an indepth view of these three stories. And no one does it better theoretically wed like to believe than us. Or
KARE or KMGH whatever, I mean who can do a better job when its in depth stuff were good at our in


depth the documentary stuff when you have time to do it its the best in the country. I would consider it
amongst the best. So are we doing in broadcast what were doing on the web? Are we giving themlook at
the story count on the 10 oclock news: 10 second VOs, 10 second VOs. Around the world, America today,
(muffled) are we saying that thats what they want? Are we giving them on broadcast or are we missing one
thing, its the one thing we dont have and offer that the web doesnt offer other thannewspapers you can
get the detail, right? You can sit down and take time if you want to. It just doesnt have the interactivity of
video and soundbites. But a newspaper does offer that. They can make an entire front page and do one story
or more. And we kind of give you a maximum of minute and a half packages. So what if we did in depth?
Right? And the 10 oclock news was no longer its the web but with pictures. Better quality pictures cause
the web doesnt have pictures. What if its in depth? I thought you know what Jeremy youve got youre on
to something. I think that thats kind maybe where it should go. It would be an awfully gutsy call because
there are still over forty year old who still watch and say 10 oclock everybody quiet I want to watch my
newscast. And then theyre going to go well I only saw three stories I want to know more so I this is
probably the most difficult time in my little mind of news. Because youre trying to keep and retain youre
trying to get new viewers and whos that? These people under 35 they have no patience for this. They dont
want to make an appointment viewing, thats what they call it, so how do we drive em in or are we going to
lose everybody? Well never get another 20 year old to watch our newscast if they dont watch it now. I did
the old raise the hand in the classroom and two were kind of like ah and every once in a while.
Keren: They lied.
Mike: Well, I think what they do is theyll catch it for a minute but they wont stop and watch. They get
another where do you get it Internet? Internet. So theyre watching news, theyre watching news stories or
theyre checking the news but theyre not watching the 10 oclock news cast. I said do you watch the news
and very few people (muffled) but then you cant alienate the over forty crowd, my parents, by changing it
so dramatically that theyre no longer gettingcause my mom doesnt log onto the Internet for her news.
Keren: My mom watching the evening news, the 10 oclock news.
(00:38:46) Mike: Right and my wife watches it and I sit there next to her and I go what are you doing and
she goes hold on I just want to keep it on through the weather and Im like keep it through the weather in a
second you can find it on the computer in the other room. And its so funny to see habitualand its split. I
mean its forty is still habitual and under forty is give or take a couple years is like dont have the time. I
want to get it on my you know cell phone I want to get it on my computer. Mostly computer obviously. So
do you alienate this group and say please come watch us or do you alienate this group and go with that idea
that Jeremy had which is stick to the big stories and do them really good. And I dont know the answer to
that. I think it would be tempting to have that. I dont know about Your Show and this is a great a idea, and
Your Show is something we just started that kind of addresses that what do people want people want to
have a say and blog and these story type chat type of thing like that about you should have never done it or
wow that was a great story. People love that. They love getting on these and having that sort of input. Im
speaking in very general terms.
Keren: I think people want to have a say but I dont think that they want to be responsible.
Mike: Now thats a beautiful thing. I love the I dont want to be responsible because its thats the problem
because we have to have responsibility to the viewers still. We still have to be, I believe, well some stations
dont, but I think we have to have the responsibility of being fair and cover the best we can but you know
tell it like it is. You know kind of like what you were saying, youre just recreating what you saw without
the bias. We have a responsibility. What weve done is, on our website, we said we had this other new
show and we said what do you want to talk about? And then by Thursday weve had all the voting since
last Sunday night about you know whatever topics they want. And when we create a show its on whatever
three topics kind of on a weekly basis or something, nightly basis, and then Adam Schraeger goes out and
brings in guests to talk about a lot of its immigration a lot of it is gas prices right now will be one of them
and Adam will bring in guests. And you have decided by a vote what you want to watch. And what you
want to show and this show is an hour long on Sunday nights and its called Your Show. I dont know if
right now you can call in or anything like that I think they do take emails live and they you know heres
someone that wrote in and wanted us to meet the governor and the representatives or economists or
whatever. And I thought this is the closest weve come so far as to people have a voice, they decide what
were going to cover, we have a film set and a good talent and interviews and hopefully more and more live


interaction and bingo. Youve kind of addressed what I was just talking about. I cant say its like
skyrocketed that people are watching it. Its probably growing in rating, its probably growing and I think
that is the first step towards satisfying the viewer to what they want out of a news organization other than
just absolutely pushing information to updatingI mean, we started this stuff that were talking about we
started the meeting that with the you know introduction to what we going to start (muffled) were going to
start changing titles. Were going to start creating positions that were never created before
Keren: I was just thinking about how Brian and Eric said how editing is becoming obsolete. I mean not
today but the idea thatBrian was more specific actually. He said like you hire an associate producer and
they do some editing. You dont really need editors to do VOs and VOSOTs. You just cut and paste. So,
you have interns doing that and low paying college grads and the art of editing is dying out because of it. It
could still exist its just that people arent being hired to do that. So what Im hearing from you though is
that perhaps that it temporary until news changes its format.
(00:43:33) Mike: Again, I dont know if thats whats going to happen. But thats maybe my last grasp at
keeping my job in tact. And satisfying the Brians and Erics of the worldwhy Brian got out is, theres no
doubt hes right. It is happening. We are teachingyesterday I taught two anchorsI sat there and
watched them cut their own VOSOT. Were they great VOSOTs? No. But appropriate for air? Yes. I mean
there wasnt any, well you know I still critiqued them but there wasnt any jump cuts, there wasnt any
shaky shots there wasnt any whatever and every time you saw the thing, sure enough, it was like 5 second
shot 5 second shot 5 second shot and (muffled) we havent gotten to that point we havent talked all that
(muffled) you know basic shots but Im teaching them because theyre going to be expected to do that. And
a producers being taught basics cutting teases vos exactly.
Keren: What is an editor going to do?
Mike: Right. And the editors are now being producers. Were now writing scripts or web scripts. Were
now posting video so were almost like producers. And theyre producers that can edit were editors that
can produce. And I do see that as a reality I mean thats where its going. But I think it may be a pipe
dream and I may be the last grasp like I said of kind of clinging to if were ever going to be storytellers
anymore maybe its because of the Your Shows and Jeremys idea abouta news broadcast at nigh
becomes especially a compilation of what happened today the best stories and we would go in depth about
it. And you know Dateline, although they really dont do news necessarily, people still have a desire to
watch longer format in depth stories. Now thats more entertainment than it is news. So can you combine
the two where you have great storytellers and you have great photography and things like that the in depth
part of it can you make it interesting enough and entertaining enough to watch but its really in depth news
information. I mean obviously theres a fine line like well, I mean, Entertainment Tonight has gone way off
into Im not going to call it news, tabloid and Hollywood and stuff like that but I think there was a time
where they might have considered themselves a news information source. You know its just a joke now
you know. We see instances where news organizations during ratings periods are doing things like got
naked and went to a nudist camp and youre like what have you done here to the integrity of journalism?
But it happens. And sure enough the numbers spike. So theres probably the temptation to go well lots do
the tabloid thing and the numbers spike and then the journalists that say theres no way were going there. I
dont care if our numbers dip and then you get that conflict of interest of like if the viewer wants it you
cant do that but you kind of do because if our numbers go down we cant make enough revenue and so
what do you do? And so Id like to believe I may be very naive but Id like to believe that they still have
that theres still a desire for good storytelling and in depth thatin the standard state of news consumer. In
the news consumer, like I said, the younger generation you or me is a consumer of massive quantities of
information on their agenda. I dont care about this accident up north. I dont drive there. But we still do it
on our broadcast because it may have affected people up north. Now with Your ShowIll get back to the
start of the meeting, the very first start of the meeting the news director said that were going to watch this
two minute clip with Bill Gates you know he did an interviewhe said what is the future of television and
he said I see your television set as being an extension of your computer. Right, makes sense? And I think
Bills a pretty smart guy. It already is now to the sense that the only difference right now is you have a
selection of a ton of channels of what you want to watch, the only difference is unless you have a TiVo,
you cant selectively choose I want to watch that programming. I cant watch Oprah at 1 oclock in the
afternoon, it comes on at four. So I have to wait. How far are we away from saying everythings video on
demand? I will pay a dollar for that I will pay 1.99 whatever. Or I just wantthe theory that a lot of and I
think a lot of the websites have this heres 40 stories going on today that 9 news is covering and I want that


that that that that to play and you see only the 5 stories you care about. Basically thats what you can do
you can click in what you want. Video on demand its stories on demand. And you can selectively choose
to not have to wait for the weather and you can not have to wait for that stupid story about I dont care you
know and we really force them to kind of fall into our agenda on a newscast. And then have to wait through
the commercial break and then come back and obviously people are getting less and less patient and the
desire to do that, of course its the older generation that are still making that time in their lives to do that
because they feel uncomfortable with the technology or they dont like to or they havent been exposed to it
as much and a 60 year old person maybe doesnt have a computer and if they do theyre probably not
surfing the net and theyre not, you know what I mean? So this is a weird time thats literally split down the
middle. Half the countrys old enough to do it and the other half doesnt care. So what do you do? But he
said your computer and your television will interface and you will be able to have more input into what you
want to do and literally feedback with types of blogs youll go this is what I want boom play. I dont have
it. Whats going to happen to commercial television? I mean people bypass it now with TiVo its going to
have to get to the point where its either pay per view or its going to have to be what Ive heard another
theory is and this is all, you know this is not my idea, and I dont know whats going to happen, but theyll
start to, they already do it to a point, but if youre going to watch Desperate Housewives, a commercial will
be specific to that demographic. And it kind of is now but I mean really specific to the demographic and
you will still have to deal with a commercial maybe if you buy it or you purchase it you cant speed
through it you have to watch a fifteen second commercial like they do on the web now. You have to deal
with a car dealership commercial and then you get to watch your story. And whoever figures out how to
make money on the Internet like they do on television broadcast then itll just go away. But commercials,
you know, if revenues down, what are you going to do? And then how do you still pay for this expensive
equipment? How do you keep your staff size so you can cover the news? So theres a scramble I mean I
feel a scramble to try to figure this out. (00:50:55) Before the competition was still basic. Everybody kind
of gathered news the same way. And it was a matter of hustle, talented photographers and reporters, and
your lead in. Your programming, if you had NBC programming you know ten years ago and which we did
and you had a pretty good station anyway are dominant partly because your lead in from Friends was huge.
Now thats still a factor but were not still gathering news the same way we still do it the same way. And
theres a lot of people with that computer on and they just tap toggle between 9 news dot com and they go
back to you know toggle and theyre not watching television. And believe me its all rhetorical questions.
What are we to do? Theres no answer. I mean theres no sure answer but its no doubt the Internet is
growing. Theres no doubt that if people can get the informationI was up at CSU we just had, this was a
month ago, right, three weeks ago. And we just had this like were starting (muffled) and were starting to
talk to people about it, youre now going to train to do this so I mean the (muffled) hasnt even started and
people are already freaking out. Theyre like Oh my GodSo Im up at CSU the day of the Virginia
Tech shooting and I just got done talking to the class about editing and of course it was on the philosophy
of news you know wheres it going and I said youre our future what do you want? And they all kind of
said well most of its on the Internet I want more in depth its all they knew all they know is to immediately
be able to contact each other, we didnt have cell phones, they know how to get information pretty quickly
that way, they dont watch the newscast. If theyre home or if they happen to come across it especially if
its live then you tune into CNN if its live you can still get a great picture. But I walk upstairs and did you
hear about the school shooting. When I drove in I heard one dead. In the dormroom. He said yeah theres
like 27 people or something whatever it was at the time and I was like oh my God! He goes yeah, my friend
was just watching it on his cell phone. And Im like he got his information and knew more than I do and
were headed to the UC newsroom which a lot of them have now and he didnt even say it like it was so
cool. Like oh yeah we watched it on my friends cell phone and he was heading to the newsroom to turn on
CNN to start writing the story and stuff and Im like there you go. That student got his information so their
all crowded around a thing this big that was MSNBC I think and I told that story the next day and the news
managers meeting and I go if any people in this newsroom dont think that this is happening, its already
happening. And I just saw it first hand and I was like shocked. I did not think to go to my cell phone..that
was crazy but it was such an eye opening experience. I feel kind of good that were in this mode right now
to push out all this information and in the newsroom everybodys involved in getting information out to
these multiple platforms. And Bill Gates said this things five years away. Not ten, fifteen, but this is
around the corner. Broadcast television will be so differentpeople have the ability to say skip skip skip
skip dont care.
(00:55:13) Keren: were saying we want control but I think that if were paying for a service, we dont
want to have to make all the decisions ourselves. In other words Im not a news director, Im not skilled at
that so why would I trust myself to go and decide which news is necessary for me to know? TALK



COUNTRY. Its nice to have choices but it would be calming to know that someone else is still kind of in
charge here.
(00:58:12) Mike: Interesting. Ive heard a criticism of our business is that were telling you what we think
is important. And like you said theres a two theyre merging. I dont disagree with what youre saying.
(00:59:15) Mike: but we still present it as even the web page is like top stories type of thing and I think that
I mean watch the news cast I would say that all three four broadcasts including Fox or whatever even CW
all five of em pretty much have the same stories and pretty much have the same interviews because of how
they do it now and then it comes down to who tells it better who shot it better whose talent do you like
better whose set looks cooler whos got better graphics. And it becomes an aesthetically pleasing
experience. And weve always believed people watch for the talent. As editors you know you dont want to
believe that my VO and my story doesnt make a difference and I think it does to a point because its I
think subtly when its cleanly cut and well cut its less distracting I think terrible editing, not great editing,
the viewer says I was distracted by that. And it matched you talk about Bush you see Bush.what youre
making me wonder is I think we all want to believe as journalists that the clich Fox news thing is we can
give you the information you decide. And I think thats what we want to believe is well give you the
information and youll decide whats important to you but I think theres more like youll decide on which
side you want to sit. Wrong or right, right or left. But I think that were going out there and truly being
unbiased and then you decide so where does that, where do those lines meet where youre talking about like
you knowI really remember conversations about how are we supposed to tell them and we tell them
whats important and theyre supposedly so uneducated that they go what happened today Im going to turn
it on cause I have no idea so Im going to turn on at seven oclock because I have no idea whats important.
Im wondering if you are onto something because people its like the child thats crying that they want all
this independence and you say okay youre going to stay home by yourself tonight and theyre like theres
no freaking way. I think I want all these things and I tell you and the reality is if we said you pick your
news tonight what are we going to tell you.where if we get into what you said its more like ah Im kind
of comfortable with you telling me what story.,,I dont know, Ive never heard it put that way. I have heard
the other side of it that were criticized for how can you tell me this is important when I dont think it is.
And its maybe not a coincidence that its the younger generation that says give me the choice you cant tell
me whats important.
(01:11:17) Keren: I just think that we need to know what on earth it is that the news is for. Make that
decision and say that news is for this. There will be a really logical progression after that.
Mike: Maybe weve lost our identity. The news I think, well definitely right now I feel like we have. Thats
an easy answer, yeah weve lost our identity. The more I think about it thats what Ive been talking about
the last half hour is we dont know whether were the web, we dont know whether were in depth. We
dont know whether were supposed to tell stories. I mean really, just the other day, is this format of forcing
40 stories at you in a half hour better than forcing or giving you six really good ones? And I dont know the
answer. I Mike Harrity do not know the answer to that because I dont sit there.I think its a little bit of
both. Theres people that desire more in depth and then theres people that desire the (muffled) because if
Im going to watch the news for thirty minutes in my busy day I better get everything and I heard the news
director say we want you to sit down and feel like youve been informed. In that half hour we want them to
feel like..weve never had 10 second VOs weve always had 30 to a minute long VOSOTs. A nice thirty
seconds a bite a tag an intro and its almost like this package without the track, you know? Its like I feel
informed about the story now but boom boom boom boom in Uruguay theres an earthquake you know like
boom. Like what the heck just happened? You know and is that what people want? I dont know the answer
butnews is in an identity crisis and we dont know what to do.
(01:05:20) Keren: It absolutely is and I mean maybe coming from another country I have really weird ideas
I dont know I probably do.


Mike: Ive never been to Europe and Ive certainly never been to Canada but what does the newscast
broadcast look like?
Keren: It doesnt stress me out the way American news does.
Mike: (laughing)
Keren: It stresses me out and when I watch the news here. Even the weather report. Everything is ohmygod
pay attention look right now dont turn away! MORE ABOUT NEWS IN CANADA VS. NEWS IN U.S.
(01:10:00) Keren: If everyones dropping (in ratings) whats the risk then why not have everyone do that
like why as I station would I not just say look whether we do this or not our ratings are dropping so what
the hell, lets commit to quality.
Mike: I think they would tell you that they believe that theres still a quality that we still believe in that
everybody would say that they still believe in others have different bars like Eric I would put very very
high as quality is this and other people would say quality is just not having Anna Nicole as the lead but
Keren: Like for editing, I mean, Im trying to bring it back, like I wrote for myself: why not just have a
newscast, Im just playing devils advocate right, but why not just have a newscast with readers, VOs, and
VOSOTs, live shots, guests. Why do we have packages? What for?
Mike: Thats a good question. I mean I think the package supposedly offers you know more in depth or
when you combine the track with multiple bites that means VOSOTs can be very informative you know to
make it the amount of information you get from a package theoretically is you know a VOSOT may be two
bites and VO two SOTS strung together in a package may have multiple bites multiple you know the
images are longer and more in depth and there are reporters involved cause a VOSOT can be just a
photographer went out and you know shot it and got a couple interviews. So in theory and in the way we
approach it is you have to have a reporter or most of the time a reporter involved in a package to stand-up
and that can be a whole other discussion do we have to have reporter stand-ups? News managers will admit
that news stand-ups is about presence and identity and I was there. Cause otherwise the photographer that
got to shoot it do the interviews and just have someone track it and youd never know. The reporter could
track it without even being there. And it would look like they had reported on it. But a stand-up puts them
there. A reporter is like connection with the face connection with the name connection with them standing
in front of the whatever. You could.
Keren: It just occurred to me that not a single package that was sent to me of the 35 packages had a standup. Why?
Mike: A lot of them because they were put together by the photographer. There wasnt a reporter or if there
was a reporter and there was a track involved we dont push that as much as some stations. Ive had a news
director tell a newsroom you will have a stand-up in every story. You will because were trying to sell the
image. You know what I mean? You have to have the reporters presence therefore they identify with you
know this reporter, this reporter was on the team. It didnt make the story better. Obviously you saw in all
the stories you saw the best stories still they dont have a reporter presence. Then you go into a whole thing
like well so whats a reporter for. Well they help gather information theres no doubt. But when you have a
very good photographer a good journalist who understands interviewing understands the storytelling and
understands photography and editing you tell me that that package is a piece of the story. You know thats
what we do we send out photographers and sometimes we send a reporter too for maybe a live shot but
the photographers getting all the information. If you have a properly trained photojournalist you dont
need a reporter. Its nice to have one because they can also do other gathering you know of information.
Im thinking of a flooding piece you know photography driven, picture driven. Yeah, its not a surprise I
was thinking tooshould you do that with some of your investigative pieces? No, I think you have to have
nat sound in investigative pieces you have to have some information being shared and theres times you
couldnt. If Eric was to design, if I was to design a perfect news wed have more photographers, probably
more reporters definitely, and you would just basically be visualwhat do we have over the web? We have
a better picture. Its bigger, its brighter, its prettier, its high def, and you have that presentation. And then
youve got the presentation of having an anchor and introduce it and having a beautiful graphic and
everything its about the presentation of TV. On the web its about information. In a newspaper its about


information without pictures. Well, they have pictures but not moving pictures. But the web allows you to
if I want a little I can get a little if I want a lot I can just click until if I want more I can start looking for
information about this and I can even search it and I can easily find out more information where it is where
were talking about. I mean theres so much information. Its kind of a la carte whatever you want. But
theres obviously money influence involved. Its this whole identity crisis. Yeah, I mean youre on to
something for sure. I can now use that like oh yeah were in an identity crisis. We dont what they want.
We dont know what to do. We have to appease the shareholders but we also have to appease the viewers
and were in a desperate struggle. And if you look at our meetings now its so obvious I didnt think of it
that way but we dont know what to do. You know, we dont know what to do. But if we had the choice if
we got funded were going to make ten million dollars a year no matter what. If the station made 10 million
dollars no matter what, what are you going to do with it, I think I bet youd see it turn back to the other way
I think youd the slow down of stories being thrown in your face cause we arent fighting for the dollar,
were fighting basically to grab the viewers. I would venture to guess that wed probably go back to better
story telling, more in depth stuff, not force feeding you stories. Theres no doubt the force feeding thing has
come about by what we think is the demand of the viewer. I feel pretty comfortable saying that I speak for
a lot of people, I dont know whether they want to admit it, but I trulyI dont know if the producer said
something like oh I love a newscast that has all that stuff like why? Why do you love 40 stories versus ten?
And theyll say cause it felt energetic. It felt good and it felt fun. And Im like but would you rather watch
that newscast or would you rather watch some really great storytelling? Cause people will still see a good
package and theyll go wow that was great. That was great. And why did you think that was great when it
took three minutes? In those three minutes you could have told me 10 stories the way you produced, you
know? I think people forget what they find good. And movies are doing the same thing. Theres so much
action in movies now and then all of a sudden comes out a great story and youre like finally we dont get
enough of that. And I think people forget and then all of a sudden they go wow that was a really good
movie. But 50 people didnt get killed. I saw the Departed and I was surprised it was so violent. I didnt
know what it was about but like why did they have to kill everybody? MORE ON FILM.
(01:18:39) Mike: it is a horrible tragedy to that family that that kid got hit by a car. But it affected that kids
family it affected the people on that street and it affected the person driving and that family but were
talking 30 or 50 people at the most. And its sad that the kid got hit by a car, luckily hes alive Im going to
pretend and then you say but who is that going to affect? Now whats been going on in the economy those
arent necessarily sexy stories but it does affect you. Gas prices affect almost everybody and we still have
thosebut you wonder sometimesactually Eric disagreed with this comment and I thought okay youre
right but my thought is tied in with that whole in depth thing, I thought Im going to push us to go more in
depth and have our newscast be what we can do best. Its about storytelling, its about pictures and those
stories that benefit from that. I said we sit there and show a refinery fire, big flames, and well show that
sometimes and in Atlantic City. No one died its just flames and I said thats great web stuff. People want
to see that and theyll click on it to watch. Why is it in our newscast? I was arguing that it doesnt have
anything to do with Denver MORE ON THE FIRE. But he said yeah, but you need memorable video in
your newscast. I guess youre kind of right, but were still making our, were still trying to attract viewers
that way. It isnt really news and information that affect us locally especially. And did anybody say boy I
really want to hear about that refinery fire, or that hotel fire in Atlanta? I dont think many people are
saying I cant wait to see the news what we do is we do that and then people go wow. I dont know what to
tell you about that. I dont know if its a little technique of news broadcast to make you go wow or oh my
God and thats what they do in teases sometimes. Will people turn us off and then turn us back on because
now I know Im getting information. Are they turning us off because were not satisfying their needs? Or
are they turning us off because they can get it from the web? Maybe were backwards like you were saying
its like maybe were kind of backwards in the thinking process. Maybe were so afraid of losing all the
web viewers we want to make the news broadcast look like the web. But maybe theyre turning us off
because they can get it there and they want meat and potatoes, they dont want little fetes. But what dont
we was your question and I think its because we have too much to lose. Because if you take a gamble like
that and you become a number two or three station your revenue drops by 50 percent. And we charge a lot
more money for that spot in the 10 oclock news cause were number one. And thats an old formula cause
everything is going to change according to Bill Gates. And we will be not necessarily judged by you know
that rating point MORE ON THIS.
(01:31:07) Mike: What would make them want to watch us? And maybe its because we had stories like
this (pointing to DVDs of content analysis stories). All of our stories looked like this. Cause its so
entertaining. When I showed these stories I just took a real random they all enjoyed every one of them.


They sat there and silently watched everyone of them because it was so good. Some of it was informative.
Theres a story well find again that was one of the stories I really loved and it was one of the stories that it
probably ran four minutes which was like ugh in a broadcast. What do we do that? Why do we have to limit
to a minute and a half? But anyways it was about three and a half minutes and it was a story about Marble
Colorado. Its a marble quarry. And theyre looking for a replacement piece to the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier. So theyre searching for the perfect piece and its got to be perfect. So were going back and forth
to the tomb back to marble to the tomb back to marble. It was one of those beautifully written it had a
reporter track it was one of our better reporters but when youll realize wow this was informative. I didnt
know this. I didnt know it had a crack. I didnt know that Marble Colorado Id heard of it but I didnt
know that it was one of the biggest quarries with some of the best marble in the world or maybe at least in
the country. And I didnt know it was such a project to find this and dig it and you see people working and
its like these water chains moving and its informative it wasnt urgent news today but it informed me. It
was beautifully shot and beautifully edited. That was a good piece.


Kehe Interview
Eric: Editing awards or awards over all?
Keren: Editing specifically.
Eric: Editing specifically. Well, editing is a huge part of the whole picture as far as winning awards. But I
do have individual editing awards as well.
Keren: Okay. I mean, the only reason I even ask is that Im trying to argue that you four are important to
talk to because you would be the people setting the trends.
Eric: Right
Keren: You know? That was my justification for it.
Eric: Well, editing is a piece of the pie of what I do. So, if I go out and I find a story and I go acquire all the
video and do all the interviews and shoot it and then bring it back and work with a reporter on writing and
then I sit down at an edit bay and then it wins an award, I mean there are so many pieces that come together
and make it an award-winning piece and editing is certainly one of them.
Keren: How about this then why dont we start with you giving me, as best you can, your timeline of how
you got to where you are right now.
Eric: Okay. I graduate from CU in 1985 and while I was a student at CU I interned here at 9 News in the
editing department and I learned editing. After I graduated, an overnight edit position opened up and they
and I was just fresh out of college and I just finished the internship program and so I kind of knew the
system and they asked if I would fill the position on an interim basis until they found a full-time editor to
come in. And after I did it for 6 weeks they said youre doing fine if you want the job its yours. So, I kinda
lucked out and lucked into the position. Timing was very crucial. I edited on the overnight for a year and
then I moved nightside which was like a 2-11 shift and I did that for two years and in the course of editing I
knew it was a good foundation to everything else that I wanted to do like writing would be to a reporter and
anchor. So while I wasI knew that I needed to really hone in on my editing craft. To perfect it. Get good
at it. But I knew all along that I wanted to be a photographer. So, after I felt really comfortable editing for
the next two years I went out with photographers during my off hours and holidays and vacations and I
would just hang out with them and I did that for about a year. And our station went through this interesting
transition where we went from inch tape to Beta. We had a bunch of extra equipment lying around and
so I peacemealed some inch gear together and then I just made myself available to the assignment desk
and I shot on weekends and I was on call and on holidays and spot news and weather and I practiced and
Id shoot and Id do all those things and after I did that for about a year a photography position opened up.
So I applied for that with the chief. His name was Brian Hostetler. And he said well, you have to have a
photography reel if you want to have this photography job and I said well here you go. And I hand him a
nice resume tape and he said you know I dont want to lose you as an editor to become a photographer.
And I said but I really want to be a photographer. And he said lets think about this a little more but no. So
channel 4 had an opening and I took my resume over there and my resume tape and I applied for the job
and I got it and then when the chief photographer found out that I got the job over there he said okay okay,
Ill hire ya. So I got the job. So, you know, in the course of learning photography for the last 15 years and
doing it pretty much full time Ive just been director of photography and Im director of photography at our
station now. All along as new equipment and new tools come in you have to stay on top of your editing
skills and marry it in with your photography. And, uh, so that you have a complete package. And then you
work on your writing and storytelling and all these other things that come into play to be a well-rounded
kind of renaissance photojournalist that I am today. Cause were expected to do many many things and be
good at em all. At least thats my expectations of my photography and my editing staff.
Keren: So is that how it works for the whole staff ? Like all the photographers edit packages as well?
Eric: Yeah, we believe in ownership and enterprise and if you find a story or get assigned a story we want
them to be involved in the entire process. Concepts and context and going out and shooting it and doing
interviews and gathering all the material and coming back and working with the reporter and helping em


script it and approving scripts and changing things around and giving em ideas and perfecting scripts. And
then, ah, usually the photographers edit their own packages.
Keren: So you actually, I didnt realize this, but you were an editor first.
Eric: Mm hmm. I started out as an editor.
Keren: And you learned to edit in the internship?
Eric: Mm hmm.
Keren: What did you edit on?
Eric: We were tape-to-tape. And it was, I cant remember the name of the machine, but it was tape-to-tape.
It was all linear and um it had a couple super suites where you could do dissolves and effects and wipes and
things like that. Um, but that was it. We had no computer editing.
Keren: Tell me about the differences that you see. I mean tell me about what editing was like back then.
Eric: Well, it was a lot more time consuming because you only had two channels of audio and if you want
to do music or mixed versions youd have to lay an audio track and youd have to mix it together in the
suite where you could bring four channels together. So there was a lot of dubbing down and loss of
generation. We used to have to build an AB roll too if you wanted to build a package with dissolves
because you would have to go into one of those super edit suites where you could sink up your two
playbacks machines and you would have to switch between one machine and the other. So it wasnt a
simple flick and render a dissolve on a pc you had to really think ahead and think okay Im dissolving from
this shot to this shot and take the tape out of my record deck and lay the video in there and hope that I
matched up my edit points right where I wanted to start to render the effect, build that dissolve from one
tape to the next and then keep all the audio synched up at the same time. And you had to think ahead. You
had to be really smart and think ahead. It wasnt a simple, a click and a drag and a overwrite and a move
and just eliminate that. If you wanted to move something out of a piece, it was a major deal because you
had to then edit that out of the piece and you have to do a remix and a cutdown then you have to fix the
audio where you made the cut then youd have to synch it up with the other broll and marry that up. So, just
to drop a simple soundbite in to a piece would take, you know, an hour. And then you scratch your head
was it really worth it to save that five seconds in the piece? So, and like I said, you really had to plan stuff
out and think ahead and we couldnt say well that soundbite works here so I thlnk well put it right there.
And, you know, and then you get further in the piece and well now it works better over here. You cant just
simply lift it out and drop it in somewhere else. You had to back up your time line and start over again from
that point on. So, it required a lot more thought. That, one of the benefits to it though, because I do see this
a lot, I see sloppy editing because of the temptation to use dissolves and effects and things. People, people
have gotten away from the power of the straight cut which is probably the most dynamic tool you can use
as an editor. And they dont match up their sequences and they dont cut on the action. They dont match
up their shots and build continuity and flow into their pieces and well as they used to because they can
simply put a white flash or put in a dissolve, render a wipe, do something to cover it up instead of really
working a sequence and taking sequentially and linear- and um
Keren: Continuity
Eric: Yeah, building continuity and flow and allowing one shot to flow into the next. You know, its kind
of becoming a lost art because all the effects are available to the editor now. Digital effects on the
Keren: I dont know, I mean, the technology is there, and I agree, like, it can mask laziness, or to mast
mistakes, but, I think people who are really focused on storytelling and on those details and maybe youll
disagree but I find like if thats your focus you probably are not going to run right to those technical tricks.
Eric: Yeah, and the environment is such today that you are so busy and youre editing so much and youre
generating so much material for all of your newscasts and all of your web material that you go with
typically what is quick and easy. And so you dont have time to build the most elaborate sequences and


things the way you used to. Um, just because the demands are so high and resources are so strained right
now. So, you do whatever the most quickest and effective and easiest.
Keren: Tell me about whats a typical day for an editor.
Eric: I cant speak to an editor but I do know that theres a noon, a four, a five, a six, a nine, a ten, and four
hours in the morning from five until nine. And thats a lot of editing. And so youre always ??? to a show,
theres always something thats going to take up your time and consume your time and demand your efforts
and energy and concentration and theres not a whole lot of time to really, you know, unless you have a
couple positions or you have an extra editor that day theres not a whole lot of time to really develop your
editing skills because youre in such a crank it out mode. You get really fast, productive, efficient but that
doesnt always mean youre going to get better. It doesnt mean youre going to develop your editing skills,
youre just going to learn to become a lot more efficient.
Keren: Did you learn the storytelling techniques during the internship or is this something that you picked
Eric: You know I gotta tell you the first five years that you get into the business you are consumed in
learning the technical end of everything that you do. Everything from synching up AB rolls to laying audio
and at first, photography, just white balancing and microphones and mic placement and shots and
composition and lighting and theres a lot to learn there. The first five years you do it youre just really
trying to get your arms around the whole technical thing. And its something that college really cant
prepare you for because the equipments so different between when you transition from college into the
real world. You have to adjust and adapt to what equipment is available for you at whatever station youre
working at. So the first five years you work on your technical skills. And then after that, if you have the
desire, which a lot of people dont or they dont work in a television station that embraces storytelling, the
next five years youre training and focusing on your storytelling. And thats a whole other area and thats
why we call them photojournalists. Because youre just not a photographer operating a camera like a
camera-man would or a studio camera operator youre putting thought and challenging yourself on every
shot every shot to be part of focus part of the story, part of what youre trying to accomplish. And its hard,
you know, you really have to exercise that muscle and want to develop that muscle to be good at it. And
you really have to have a reporter that wants to play at that level you have to have a management that
embraces those types of stories and wants those types of stories you have to have an assignment desk that
seeks out those types of stories and allows you the time to do those types of stories. It has to be a stationwide effort that youre gonna have people that want to tell stories. Because you go up to an editorial
meeting in the morning and you have a bunch of assignment editors and producers and basically they are
handing out assignments. And its the photographer and the reporters job to convert those assignments into
stories. And there are a lot of things we look for in order to be able to do that. And the best photojournalists
are the photojournalists that can take an assignment, take a concept and turn it into a story through a lot of
the storytelling skills that we teach.
Keren: Its a group effort
Eric: Yeah, it has to be. It has to be.
Keren: Do you ever edit things that you havent shot?
Eric: Sometimes.
Keren: Do you think that you edit them better when you are the shooter?
Eric: I always try hard on whatever Im editing. And if I know a photographer worked hard on a piece, Im
going to make sure that photographers proud of that piece when Im done with it. So, Im going to put a lot
of effort into making that photographer look good. But they do things, you know, when youre out in the
field shooting sequences and you have certain things in mind when youre getting that shot, that doesnt
always translate over to the editor. So, you know, you spend a lot of time on a certain sequence or lighting
something and the editor may not understand what you are trying to do or appreciate the effort or
appreciate how artistic that shot might be and just kind of blow over it. And I also know that when I was an
editor editing other photographers material, I thought that the more edits I put into a sequence the harder I
was working and the better job I was doing. Because my job was to edit so I was going to edit and lay as


many shots down and get as much there as I possibly could. And after a while I realized that my job as the
editor is to make sure the best material gets on the air for our viewers and that means instead of having five
shots in a ten second sequence that if theres a really emotional shot or a beautiful shotit takes a while to
develop that storytelling skill to say thats a beautiful moment Im going to let that breathe Im going to let
that up longer and thats when you transition to a good editor is when you appreciate the photography and
the storytelling and you make sure that those moments, those surprises, that emotion, those characters all
those things make it into the piece. And you cant always chop it up.
Keren: What do you figure happens when you chop it up?
Eric: Well, you cant just chop it up for the sake of chopping it up. I mean theres got to be a reason and
purpose behind every edit and I didnt understand that at first. I thought my job was to edit and so Im
going to make as many edits as I possibly can. To show everybody how hard Im working. And so if youre
trying to create an effect of a hurried, hectic, crazy pace youre trying to deliver the heart before this child
expires in a hospital youll notice in that piece that I left up like a 17 second shot of the dad just having
this moment with his kid before he goes into surgery and then once you get into the surgery then the clock
starts ticking and the race is on. And the further they get into putting the heart in I pick up the pace quicker
edits move it move it move it move it move it. And then, once youre done with the surgery, you slow it
back down. And you kind of understand what just happened here. Im trying to show an 8 hour surgery in
30 seconds basically. And when youre in there everybodys running around. Its hectic. Theyre bringing a
Coleman cooler with a heart in it and the guy is walking down the hall while theyre preparing the kid over
here and moving the heart and putting him on dialysis over here to keep everything going and flowing.
Keren: I liked that part with the cross-cutting. I thought that was really cool. You were talking about good
elements of editing. Good elements of photography. And you mentioned some having emotion and
Eric: Let me give youwhen I dowhen I talk to classes and do seminars and things. This just has a brief
overview of what I look for. And these are just teaching areas. Ill do hour long, two hour long seminars on
just shooting techniques. These are the techniques Im looking for in that. Ill do a couple hours on lighting,
Ill do a couple hours on audio, I can do many many hours on editing and this is just the short list. This is
basically, when I teach editing, thats what Im really looking for. And then here are all the storytelling
elements. And I can do a couple hours on each one of these topics here. So I justIll give you that. Those
are my outlines and hopefully those will be good guidelines. And you can ask anything you want about
that. If you want.
Keren: I have so many questions coming into my head. Tell me about the storytelling. Tell me aboutso
each of these is a potential lecture point? Heres what I keep thinking in my head, right? In academia
theres this debate, you know they talk about news. When you hear information about news in that realm in
that environment right where the big brain people are talking, they talk about entertainment and
information. Those are the big categories, right. And the concern that news is takingthat it used to be
information and it drifted off into this entertainment medium and were not learning anything. And, you
know, visual storytelling
Eric: Well, who says that? I mean, and what television market are they at and what are they watching
because, if you watch our standards for news here in Denver, its quite a bit different. I know that a lot of
markets are gravitating towards the entertainment value of news and when they do that they start doing
high speed chases and every house fire and every auto accident that happens because its spot news and
really theres no intrinsic value to cover spot news other than its here its now its exciting, its raw
emotion and its entertainment. Nobody gets anything out of spot news other than the excitement that you
get being in the middle of the fire or being in the middle of the car crash and coming from horrible horrific
tragedy. And yet, here, were trying to take it to another level.
Eric: So, I do understand theres aI mean, thats why we do sports. I mean, its an athletic field, its total
entertainment, sports is entertainment and you get connected to the players and the team and you want to
see em do well. Theres human drama for whether you win or lose. But do you really have to have that in


your life and is there any sort of benefit to having that, you know, knowing about another car crash, you
know, unless youre stuck on I-25 and that traffic is jammed, do you really need to know that another car
ran into a fence or truck here in this area. Do you know the people involved in the crash? Were they
celebrities? Were they your local politician? Whats the repercussion, whats the impact? Whats your
reaction to it? There really isnt any other than the human drama involved in tragedy. So there is
entertainment value in that. And its sad because youre living off of other peoples tragedies basically. But,
thats what I mean by the entertainment value. But, you have to balance it out and you have to balance it
out with human interest and you have to be able to put these stories in perspective otherwise its just one
story after another after another after another and if a car crashes you need to investigate why did a car
crash? Was it another high school kid who just got their drivers license and they didnt fulfill their
graduated drivers license and they had a bunch of other kids in their car and were they distracted? Were
they drinking? Were they of age? Were they drinking? Is there a drinking problem at their school? How
easy is their access to alcohol? If there was a house fire, where did the house fire start? Why did it spread
so quickly and did they have a plan? How did they escape the house? Did they have kerosene and gasoline
and paints and thing stored in the garage? Is that why it caught so quickly and is that why the house blew
up? Was there a gas leak? Was it the beginning of the fall season and people were prepping their furniture
and was there a gas leak in the house? And can we do a story about making sure that everything is sealed
properly in their house? Were they poor people and did they bring in a gas grill from outside? So the house
filled with carbon monoxide because they were so desperate to stay warm? And can we warn people about
that? So you can do the initial horrible tragic story, but you have to balance it out. Put it in perspective. And
it goes beyond entertainment. It goes to the information level, and you have to have a balance of both in
order to be able to succeed as a television station. Otherwise the product is just bad. And I think it varies
from city to city, station to station. I mean some news directors have some really weird ideas about what
they think news is. And luckily our station has been one where weve had two news directors over the years
and we go beyond the entertainment level of news. And were trying to do news that can make a difference
in your life. And when I, I have a litmus that I have for myself and when I go out to do a story and you can
kind of see it in anyone of these (pointing to DVD of packages). If I do a story, I kind of feel like I have
this connection between me and the viewer. And my goal is to team up with a viewer and I call it iteam.
And my job is to inspire, teach, entertain, enlighten, make a difference in the viewers lives. And thats a
standard that I try and hold to all of my stories. And some of them, you know, fall into different areas.
Keren: Do you think thatI mean, its certainly not the case with every story cause, like, as you say, some
of them theres not the time to be able to do all these things, but do you think packages can achieve what
youre talking about? Like, Im watching some of these packages and Im thinking they are entertaining.
They are human drama. They are sometimes, not salacious, but like you know exciting and attentiongrabbing. Do you think that, I mean, what informationwe can look at specific packages, but, what am I as
a viewer supposed to get from these packages? Like, what am I supposed to walk away from with? Is it an
understanding of citizenship? Or how I should vote? Or how I should live?
Eric: I put it out there and I let the viewers decide. I mean, if its a story about Bronco towing, okay, heres
two things that you could take away from it: first I try to make it entertaining. And put a strange smile to
the viewers faces like putting a little piece of humor behind it. Second is, if you somebody whos lived in
those neighborhoods, and people are parking in your streets, and youre planning on going down to a
Bronco game, you better worry about where youre parking your car. Because you dont wanna hike two
miles to go pick up your car cause its yeahFallen Hero. I wanted to inspire people and make them
appreciate what they have as far as police officers. That this guy did not just die on duty and lose his life.
He died because he was protecting you and me and I wanted people to understand that and realize that so I
tried to evoke as much possible emotion as I possibly could. As far as Magictown, its a guy who turned his
life around. Hes an alcoholic and he becomes an artist, I mean he built this little miniature city in oldtown
Golden, Colorado Springs. And its kind of the power of magic. If you believe it can come true and that
guy finally turned his life around and believed in himself and thats the message. Im trying to inspire
people that, if you have anything wrong, if youre obese, if youre an alcoholic, if youre addicted to drugs,
you can build a wonderful world for yourself and thats exactly what that guy did. (00:30:00) Broken
hearts, I mean, I just wanted people to embrace their children, embrace their families, their kids, and
appreciate that their kids, that theyre healthy, and to think about organ donation if something every happen
to their child. And if, God forbid, something happened to my kid, yeah could I help somebody else out and
make something positive out of a negative situation? And thats why I chose two girls. And I didnt build it
around with one story because there was a chance that, a really great chance that that one girl was going to
die. And I thought she was going to die and that she was going to become a heart transplant or an organ


donor. And I paralleled the two girls lives together not knowing what was going to happen going into it.
But, for every life saved, another one had to be lost. And people have to understand that we can still give
and make something positive out of a nightmare situation. The Columbine one, it was the just the most
horrific tragic moment and people needed to see it and understand it and be exposed to it. If something
relevant was going to come out of it. And to just feel the raw emotion of that day, um, it was important to
do that story. Beer Wars, thats just that entertainment thing. Ah, its a spot news riot that happens
overnight and we cover a lot of spot news. That, you know, its about kids drinking, and you know the bar
letting out and I understand the entertainment value and thats why I had funny sound bites from kids
saying you know life is like a stew if you dont stir up the pot, the scum rises to the top. You got a cop
standing there saying future leaders of America. You got a cop getting in the kids face saying bullshit I
saw you. You know, theres just a lot of emotion going on there. And I can go down the list. You know,
Saving Jerred was probably my favorite story Id ever done in my life because I fell in love with that little
boy you know and just following his life and there again if this little boy can overcome from getting burned
on over 90% of his body anybody can overcome obstacles. So, you know, theres value in everything. I try
and find value in everything. I just dont kind of regurgitate a bunch of facts and, okay, heres everything.
Im trying to push em in a direction. Im trying to evoke some sort of emotion and elicit some sort of
response in people. Motivate them to make a change or
(00:32:40) Keren: Is that what you think the news should do?
(00:32:42) Eric: Its why I can do the news. If I did it the other way, I couldnt do it. If I just went out, shot
a bunch of pictures, and couldnt put the stories in proper perspective, I wouldnt do this. I would have
gotten out so many years ago. But to work at a station where you have so many opportunities, where you
can hold these stories up to a higher level, and try and do more with them, you know, thats why Ive been
able to put the time in them that I have. Because with these stories you feel like you can make some sort of
difference with it.
(00:33:12) Keren: Do you see a difference in the way you edit hard news and soft news? Like, do you guys
make that distinction?
(00:33:17) Yeah, I do, I do. I mean, uh, hard news is, gosh, I think I would say it like this: depending upon
what the story is, I use a different edit technique. But I would say that, in most spot news stories, theres
mostly hard cuts and nat pops and cutting on the action. And I think straight cuts are artistic but youre not
using as many effects to tell a spot news story as you do in some of the other, like feature areas. Like the
Magictown, I mean, I had a green ultimat out there and I was chroma keying the set and propping people in
stairways and moving them around Magictown and trying to make them part of the environment.
Keren: Ive never seen anything like that before. Ive never seen that trick used before. I dont understand,
what was the technology that you used?
Eric: I took a portable green screen and I put it up in the corner of Magictown so that people could actually
sit in the middle of Magictown and react to the things that were around them. If I took them out of that
environment to do that then they would have been making stuff up. But the fact that Michael Garamond is
sitting there oh Hanks over there and Petes over there and hes pulling his zipper up, hes actually looking
around like hes part of the world and thats what I wanted people to do is to escape into this world when
they go there and thats what happened lots of times because theres so many little stories.
Keren: How do you learn to do this? I mean I have limited abilities to do this, I mean Im not working on
that right now, Im in school so I took a break from it and Im not polishing my technique, but where do
you get all of this inspiration to do these things? How do you know to put dissolves here or
00:35:35 Eric: Well, Ill just go back to a solid foundation for editing. And I went down the list as far as
cuts, jump cuts, dissolve cuts, montages, wipes effects. I mean, I do put reason and thought behind each
one of these different types of edits. And, um, you know youre trying to say something with the edit each
time. Youre communicating. Why did I make a jump cut there? Am I trying to jog the viewer out of his
seat? Surprise them somehow by doing that. They could be talking about, you know, I have to go to work
now, and then BOOM youre in the car driving. And its pretty effective to make a jump cut right there. Its
probably less effective if I say I have to go to work now and I slowly dissolve into a picture of me driving
to work now. And to me, like, dissolves, youre trying to, youre trying to let the viewer know that youre


changing time and location, special relations. And so you can slowly dissolve into that. And dissolves are
very dream-like, theyre very dreamy.
Keren: Sighs. I think of them as sighs.
Eric: Yeah, but in reality, in the world today as we see it were awake and were alert and you think in cuts
but you dream in dissolves. Have you ever heard that before?
Keren: I like that, no I havent.
Eric: And I can make an example: Look at the light switch there, then look at the lamp, and then look at
this chair. Now did you see anything that was between here and there?
Keren: I didnt focus on it.
Eric: Well, no because youre thinking in cuts. Im thinking the light switch, Im thinking the lamp, and
Im thinking the chair. So, these random move, you not, you think in cuts, youre going from here to there
because theres too much information otherwise to try and process. Your brain would go crazy, right? But,
when youre sleeping and youre dreaming, your brain goes crazy and you think in dissolves. And I could
be sitting here talking to you now and you could slowly morph into Mike Harrity. And Im like whoa what
the heck just happened there? So, youre brain just gets to exercise with caution. So I use that technique
when Im editing as well so when Im trying to take you from the fire here and people reacting over here I
would take a hard cut. I would go from the flame to the people looking. Because thats how I would see
that event if I was actually there. Now, if I was trying to do a feature piece Id have this person talking
about you know yesterday when the flames were just chewing up my house I saw everything going up in
smoke, this is a person whos going back in time or reflecting and thinking about what happened and that
might be more of a dreamlike state. And its more of a mental process, a mental exercise. So, rather than
going cut cut cut, while this person, in their brain is trying to think in or live in a dreamlike state, they
would be more dreamlike. And I want, like the Fallen Hero piece, thats exactly what I was trying to do
because, when I was there at that funeral, it was it was slow, it was like a bad dream. You know, where you
lose your best friend. And thats why I chose to do the heavy layers and monster dissolves because I
wanted it to feel like a dream. And I did a lot of morphing, a lot of superimpositions, lots of dissolves to try
and capture the moment. And with a lot of layering I wanted to do a, you know, like a flag and the fallen
hero and just, you know, the police officer, and just let everybody know that hes a fallen hero who had
worked, or had died serving his country. So differentyou have a lot of editing tools that all have
purposes. Theres a reason behind every one of them. And I try and challenge myself to make sure youre
putting reason behind every edit. And if you can do that then youre making the edit for the right reason. If
you make an edit because youre in a hole, and the only way to get from this place to this place is to render
a dissolve or dip to black or put in a flash of white, in those instances I think youre using editing as a
crutch and not as a tool. And I try and use editing as a tool. And thats why you have to understand all the
different editing techniques. And why you use the. When to use them. And when it becomes a powerful
(00:40:27) Keren: How did you learn that? I mean, did you get a textbook, or?
Eric: I thinkwell, I heard John Heijek speak at an NPPA convention once and I understood why I did a
lot of things but, kind of like what youre talking about, I didnt have the nomenclature to back up why I
was doing it. And just to hear John talk about it in cinemagraphic terms really helped me understand, oh
thats why I do that. And thats why I like putting jump cuts in those situations. Oh, and thats why I like
dissolves there. And I knew it, and you see it, and you understand it but you couldnt really put a value
behind it or put a word behind it. And John Hijeck kind of opened all that stuff up to me when I heard him
speak. He blew me away. He really did.
Keren: Hes a film editor?
Eric: Hes a network editor. He has, um, he has a cinematography background I think. The old
cinematographers are the, theyre the best. They just understand it. They know why theyre doing it. They
know what filters they have to use, they know color saturation, and lighting techniques. And I fear that its


become a lost art. But there are still enough people in the industry now to get the word out and teach the
new guys coming in how to do it.
(00:41:58) Keren: I would argue that its an up-and-coming art. An undiscovered art, perhaps. That we
didnt recognize that editors in news could be filmic. You know, cinematography in news perhaps because
of this debate between entertainment and information, that there was this shyness, you know, shying away
from committing to that art. Personally I think its valuable. I mean, what you were saying to me, this is the
kind of news that people would benefit from. But, thats not the kind of news that wewhen you picture,
when I read about reporters and journalistic integrity and these kind of things, the words that come up are
like objectivity, authenticity, timeliness, like these kind of words. Do editors think in those terms? Do
photographers think in those terms? Do you have your own list of policies?
Eric: Well, were photojournalists so we hold ourselves up to high journalism standards. But were also
photographers and because of that were artists. And editors are every bit as artistic as the photographers
are. So, I think its a good marriage and you have to understand all of these things in order to succeed. And
truly maximize the position I guess. If the position is going to realize its potential, then you have to perform
and understand at all these different levels.
Keren: I agree.
Eric: And as far as the reporters, its just frustrating, because you go to colleges and you look at the
curriculum of news writing and news broadcast and TV production and youre right and its history and all
this stuff. But theres nobody teaching you the artistry behind cinematography. And theres nobody
teaching you what are you looking for in a story and to make it a great story thats going to touch peoples
lives. And so they dont get it there and then you go to a small market where you have a bunch of people, a
bunch of newbies, stuck in a small market and there typically arent great teachers that are going to bring
that out. Its not part of the culture to have it in a small market either. In a small market you have so few
people and everybodys doing everything you really cant get into the artistry. And thats why, you know,
the industry isnt really generating a whole lot of storytellers. Theres stations that embrace storytelling
and, like, for instance, we have three reporter positions open right now and we cant find anybody who can
tell a story. They can regurgitate facts and they can do fine live shots. They may look good. And this is
what the agents are trying to produce and trying to sell to the bigger markets. But for a storytelling station
like ours, were looking for storytellers. But the agents deny it - youre not scaring their clients in that
direction. And the industry doesnt really embrace story telling. Otherwise there would be a lot more good
story tellers out there. So the news director only has 200 resumes sitting on her desk and out of this theres
only a couple that you would consider because most of them dont get it and the industry doesnt get it.
(00:45:36) Keren: How did this divide happen, do you figure? Like, there is a huge divide. Theres serious
news and oh, the story tellers you know? Theyre over there. How did that happen?
Eric: I dont know, but, I gotta tell you, some of the best reporters in the country right now are Boyd
Hooper at KARE in Minneapolis, and weve got a couple here, Chris Vanderveen, Adam Schraeger, and
they apply the same story telling skills to spot news that they apply to their feature reporting, sports
reporting. And its a tool that serves them well in every different type of story that you could go out and do.
A spot news story with a focus, with a structure that tells a complete story with beginnings, middles, and
ends. Every story has to have an incredible moment. Some sort of moment. Every story has to have built in
surprises, little twists and turns and makes the person want to stay tuned to it to get to the next great
moment thats gonna happen. Its gotta have emotion. Its gotta be unique, its gotta be different from all
the other stories out there that the other stations are telling. Thats why you cant just simply regurgitate a
bunch of facts. The other stations are going to have the same facts that you do. You have to present it in a
different interesting unique way. You have to have characters. You have to build your stories around
characters. You cant just have soundbites from characters, you have to get a little of, and develop those
characters that make you care about that character because its not about the house that explodes, its about
people who lived in the house. Or the neighbors who lived by or the firefighters who were fighting it or the
guy who was walking along and was trying to rescueits about the people who are impacted by the fire.
So, you have to have characters and character development. Details, little details beyond the fact. What
interesting things that you wouldnt normally notice, that I would notice that the photographer through the
power of telephoto lenses and close-ups and details and interesting things that you wouldnt just see from
standing on the street and lookingits other things. Its ah, its compelling, theres foreshadowing, theres


setting up, you know, and theres delivering down the course of a story. Youre looking for drama, youre
looking for conflict, youre building suspense, all these things are prevalent in spot news stories as well as
feature stories, sports stories, documentaries, all these things, all these storytelling skills. Tools to show up
in every different type of story. So, I dont know where the rift came in. I dont know if its being taught. I
dont know if theyre teaching it in college, I dont know if theyre teaching it in small markets where the
big market reporters came from you know cause all big market reporters have to pay their dues at some
small market station. I dont know if the agents are embracing it and trying to sell it as a powerful tool to
use in newsrooms. I dont know if news directors are looking for that type of story in their product. But I do
know that theres not enough of it out there. And, to me, story telling is one way, is a good building block
for your news product if youre going to succeed.
(00:49:13) Keren: When you say succeed, I mean, you were talking earlier about competition with the other
stations. When you say succeed do you meanwhat do you mean by succeed?
Eric: Connect with the viewer, a place where you viewers want to go for news information. Winning the
ratings, winning awards, succeedhaving a place where the best people around in the country want to
come to and work. You can measure success in probably four, five different ways.
Keren: I was thinking about when I started thinking about editing and this idea, balance between making
good news and making money. Trying to find a balance.
Eric: You have to do it all. (00:50:17) I think if you do a really good job people are going to understand,
they are going to tune into you and watch. And thats one way to win. And everybody has to succeed at
their own level. Editors have to be great editors, photographers have to be great photographers and
storytellers. Reporters have to be great storytellers and reporters. The anchors have to look good, sound
good, present the material well. They have to be warm, they have to connect with the viewers, Your
graphics department has to turn out the best, cleanest, most informative graphics out there. Your directors
have to be quick and timely, and flexible and spontaneous. Your news managers have to be on top of
everything. Your assignment managers have to make good decisions about getting people out the door and
picking the right stories. Your producers have to wanna bundle it all up and make a great product and great,
you know, put together a great show with balance and perspective, thats thoughtful and introspective. Its
all those things.
Keren: Im starting to think that this is a real good argument for why this needs to be taught in schools
immediately. Like, by everyone. You know, if you guys are setting these standards, not if, you guys are
setting these standards, for storytelling and clearly not everyone is learning how to do this ahead of time,
before they get on the job. I mean years wasted trying to train people to do this. Maybe discovering that
they dont even have the ability you know, they shouldnt even have that job.
(00:51:57) Eric: Well, you have to be passionate about wanting to do it. And I dont think, like I said, I
dont think they know what area that they should be passionate about. I mean theyre so worried about their
look and their presentation, if they get the facts proper and have them balanced, being fair, that theyre
missingyou need to do all that, but you need to take it to the next level too if you want your product to
Keren: Do you think that was always the case? I mean, you have 22 years of experience. Youve seen
enough that you can make a guess. Things are definitely different now. Do you think it was always the
Eric: Weve been number one in our market for years. And the foundation of our product has always been
on good photography and good storytelling. And the two kind of go hand in hand. A pretty picture with
nowith nothing behind it is just a pretty picture. You know, we can shoot pretty sunsets but unless you
tell the story of the farmer whos about to lose his farm and tell everybody that its the end of another long
day, and hell do it again tomorrow, you know, unless you can take that sunset and put in proper
perspective, its nothing. But, you know, Ive also seen station that have solely built their product on
storytelling and they havent succeeded either. Its a tool for a newsroom to use. You cant just say oh
were going to go out and tell great stories. You have to have great talent, you have to have great anchors,
you have to have great news, you have to have great spot news responses, you have to have great graphics.
You have to be good at everything if you want to succeed. But, whats happened is, there hasnt been great


storytelling out there so they put their eggs in the other basket, they try and excel in the other areas but you
have to have a nice well rounded well balanced station and do everything and do everything well. But
unfortunately stories, good storytelling, has not been part of the building blocks for most television stations
out there.
(00:54:14) Keren: Something Im definitely going to need to discuss in this paper. I think this is a defense
for a new curriculum. Tell me, did you watch other submissions?
Eric: No, but I know their work.
Keren: Im just curious, I mean Im definitely asking Mike about this, but people who dont win, is it a
storytelling issue? What are they missing?
Eric: Oh, I cant answer that. Theres so many things that can go wrong. Bad writing, bad execution, bad
story to begin with, bad technique.
Keren: Let me ask you this instead: you picked 13 packages. I imagine you did not edit only 13 packages in
your 22 years of working here.
Eric: Right. I just picked stories with different types of editing. Stories that showed different editing
techniques. I mean, most of them happened to be all on one tape. So I just made a simple DVD dub. But,
youre right, I have a lot of other stories out there.
Keren: I was just curious how you ended upthat makes sense though
Eric: Well, this was different, this was dissolves, this was effects, this was straight cuts, this was spot news
stories, Columbine, Beer Wars. The tornadoes, Thunder Mountain is just a fun sportsI did Thunder
Mountain cause its sports and I tried to show that I tried to use some of the same techniques in sports as I
do in news in features. And with Bethunes Pride. I put music pieces in there because I wanted to show you
that music has a place in news as well.
Keren: I was going to ask you about that too actually, thanks for reminding me that. I have a few questions
about music. Thoughts on music, and how you picked the songs.
(00:56:25) Eric: Well, my thought on music is that it depends on the piece. Like a spot news story? dont, you wouldnt use music behind a spot news piece unless there was, like, youre doing a
gang fight and somebody listening to a boombox out there and you know you can use that music to kind of
enhance what was going on out there try and capture the mood. So it has its place in some pieces and not
others. I think it belongs more in like feature pieces and sport stories. Thats usually, probably pretty much
the standard that I use. Not in spot news, not in general news typically. Because it changes the feeling and
the context of the piece. A general news story with music all of a sudden feels very featurey. And if I get a
general news assignment thats supposed to appear in the A block of the newscast, that should be a little
harder, edgier, then Im going to make sure that I dont screw over the producer up and all of a sudden put
a music piece in their A block that they didnt intend to make. But my feeling is that youre trying to
capture the mood of a piece and youre trying to evoke some sort of emotion happiness, sadness, anger,
whatever it is and if I can use enough other tools to help capture that emotion in the piece then Im going
to use it. And I have a whole library, a whole arsenal of different types of music thats out there that would
help me tell that story. Like the Piano Man on Magictown. I mean, thats what that story is about. To marry
that guys story with Billy Joels song and sitting in a bar when hes got a bar guy sitting around with foam
coming off of their beer its just, it was a good marriage between the two. Saving Jerred, there was a
moment in the piece about halfway through where I wanted to get the absolute most out of the moment
when the kid goes to the surgery and he goes into rehab. And I had to find a very powerful emotional piece
of music to take you into that moment and then make that transition to take the story to the next level. And
thats why I did that. A lot of people criticized me using it in that piece but, you know what, personally I
edit for the viewer, and I dont edit for the judges who judge my stories, you know in contests. And frankly,
if I put reason and thought and justification for why I use the music in my piece, then I really dont care
what judges and other people think. Because Im trying to move people who are watching these stories.
And Im not going to hold their standards to mine. Im going to be an editor at that point, Im going to do
what I think is best for the story and Im not going to worry about what other photographers, or editors,
judges are going to think. And Ive seen stories where, you know, the right cut of music can make a good


piece great and also the wrong piece of music can make a great piece horrible. It can just rank it. You have
to be really careful about what cut of music you use, how much you use it, how well you mix it into the
(00:59:57) Keren: You wouldnt want every package to have a soundtrack.
Eric: You cant do that because you cant homogenize your product. You have to have variety and keep the
viewers guessing in any newscast as to why you did it that way and why is that a twenty second piece and
why is that a four minute piece? Why does that piece have music and why does that one not have music?
Why is that one stylized so much with dissolves and why is that one just hard cuts? Its got to be an overall
entertaining product. You cant say theres only one way of doing a story.
Keren: When you edited tape-to-tape could you edit the same way as you edit now?
Eric: Yep. That Thunder Mountain piece, that was tape-to-tape. And Bethunes Pride was tape-to-tape, but
I had to build AB rolls. And, these are all older stories by the way.
Keren: They dont feel old.
Eric: Well, thats good storytelling, I think. If a piece is timeless, and it happened fifteen years ago, and its
still, and you still like it today, good storytelling should be timeless. It should be good the first time you
saw it, should be good the second time you see it.
(01:01:31) Keren: Im still trying to get an I know when I learned to edit, much of the techniques
that I picked up were either I saw something cool on TV and so I copied it or the guy whos my boss who
trained me would suggests things, you know he let me kind of do my own thing and then he would say you
know what you could do here and Id learn a new technique. Is that a typical way to learn?
Eric: Yeah, I mean, its horrible when I go to the movies and I watch a movie because most of the time I
have to watch movies a couple times because the first time I watch it Im just looking at the lighting and the
edit techniques and I miss the story because Im so wrapped up in the technical stuff thats going on. And
then later, you know, okay this time Im just going to watch the film. You dont get caught up in that. You
dont get caught up in the digitization. Whyd they do that? You know, ooh, the lighting (muffled).
Keren: I re-edit movies when Im watching them. I go No No No thats not going
Eric: Bad sequence.
Keren: there, put that there!
Eric: So, youre exactly right. Ill watch movies, documentaries, NPPA, National Press Photographers
Association newsreels, things like that. And Ill see stuff on it I like and oh theres another tool I can put in
my toolbox. When the times right Ill pull that one out and Ill use that effect.
Keren: So, its just a cumulative sharing of ideas?
Eric: Sure. When we go to Normand, Oklahoma and we teach in the big workshop there, the National Press
Photographers Association workshop, we just call it a big den of thieves. You know, theres 200 people
sitting around and theres something, ah thats cool Im going to steal that one. And, you know, ooh, music,
well I never thought about music before but maybe Ill open my eyes and maybe Ill try it sometime. It is,
youre just stealing from each other. And, you know, to make the product better and to make it better for
everybody youre willing to share those ideas. It just makes the product better for everybody.
(01:03:54) Keren: Im going to ask kind of an abstract question but Ive been wondering about this: what
do you see as the future of news editing? Where do you see all of this going?
Eric: Well, its a little scary because theyre expecting so many people to do it now. So, like we have
directors editing, we have producers editing, we have web producers editing and I do worry that so many
people are going to be editing and its not their, you know, its not their individual craft to say Im an


editor, Im a great editor, I can make a piece rock. But theyre going to make it a skill for so many people
but its not their primary skill that I could see where itthe quality might drop as far as editing goes. I fear
that. I fear that happening.
Keren: Whats it like that, for new people. Like for example for reporting you said that its hard to find
good story tellers therefore its hard to find reporters. Um, is the same true of editors? Do you knowdo
you ever go hang out with the new kids?
(01:05:07) Eric: Well, I thinkI think whats happening is ah, for editors, you hire on attitude, you hire on
creativity, you hire on potential, and then you end up teaching them at your level and at your standards.
Cause I dontI thinkcause people say Im an Avid editor, which means I know how to edit on Avid, or
Im a Final Cut editor, I know how to edit on Final Cut. But do they, I know they know how to click and
drag and move stuff around and render effects and get the audio levels right but do they know how to edit?
And just because you know how to lay shots down and move shots around and go, you know, build a
timeline, does not mean that you know how to build sequences, does not mean you have an eye for
photography, does not mean you know how to get the best shots on, it does not mean that you have good
journalism standards, high enough to say to your anchor who just wrote a story this shot you asked for does
not make sense right here, can you rewrite that or can I put a different shot it here? I mean, you have to
really empower your editors to make those decisions to really be good editors and Im not sure. Mikes got
a pretty solid staff but I think weve done a lot of the training here, made em as good as they are. Cause we
have pretty high standards here.
(01:06:41) Keren: Is that just the nature of the job? Start out kind of rough
Eric: Yeah, I think so.
Keren: I T.A. for the broadcast kids, for the undergrads and I teach them editing Im an Avid Editor
(laughs). We have Avid at our school. And were very lucky to have that, actually. But I try and get across
to themcause they get so caught up in the buttons and so stressed out by the program and when
something crashes and something doesnt work and something whatever and its like you know. The first
thing I teach them when I come in, like the first class, I say you know Im going to teach you how to push
all these buttons, right, but dont ever think that youve picked the story, and then you shot your interviews
and your b-roll and now its just the extra part at the end cause you will fail miserably
Eric: Stories will live and die in the edit bay. Even if you have the greatest story, you can have the greatest
photography, but if the executions off in the edit bay, you just lost it. Youve lost everything, everything
thats been built up to that moment. Its like, its like for a baseball player: you go to practice, you hit off
the tee, you do soft toss, you do live pitching and then you step in the box ready to hit that homerun and
you stop trying. If you dont give it your effort once that ball is actually in play coming towards youand
thats the way that is too. You can have great stories, you can have great moments, you can have great
execution, great photography, great reporting out in the field, but when that balls coming in, the editors
got to hit the homerun. And thats what, thats the moment. Thats when you weed out all the bad shots.
Thats when you weed out all the shaky shots all the stuff thats distracting. Thats when you narrow the
focus and get shots that are only important to the story. Its where you ride the natural sound levels to make
it more experiential and actually take the viewers to where it needs to be. You really have to channel and
focus your efforts, you know, to hit that homerun and thats what happens in the edit bay. Everything else
is preparation, lead-up to that moment.
(Banter Keren shows Eric her content analysis instrument)


Weister Interview
Brian: If youre young and trying to make your way in the business then you consider yourself very
fortunate if you can find somebody to learn from. Cause most of those people are button pushers and I was
really lucky the first job I had was in Pueblo/Colorado Springs and its a one man band so I was editing and
shooting and reporting and doing everything and it was a great market, a huge coo out of school it was lie
market 94 right out of school. You know wow a huge job. And it was terrible because there was nobody
there to learn from. Nobody there wanted to teach me how to do any of this stuff and you only learn so
much in school.
Keren: What did you learn in school? Did you learn storytelling in school?
Brian: I learned a little bit of storytelling in school. The majority of what I learned about storytelling was
fromI was very unlucky I did not do this when I was in school. A lot of my friends did but a lot of my
friends went to the NPPA workshop in Oklahoma. I dont know if youve ever been to that. Im sure Eric
probably talked about that stuff. I never went there but I had friends who went there. I couldnt afford to go
and it was at a weird time. I didnt have any money. I was in school. And a friend went (muffled) and woah
we saw all this stuff and it was just amazing and he brought back tapes that had peoples work on it. And
you know I watched some of this stuff and it had guys like Eric Kehe that came and talked to my class and
you know some other guys from Denver you know former classmates of mine that had gone on to work in
smaller markets saw some of their work. And you know it was really an inspiration to me. But I suck
compare to what these guys are doing. And thats what I want to be. Thats what I want to be. What these
guys are doing. And when I graduated from college and I had my first job I was terrible. I thought that,
when I was working in Pueblo, I thought that I was going to be canned. Seriously, because I wasnt very
good I was really slow I wasnt a very good writer so the one man band thing didnt work. It took me like
three hours to cut a minute fifteen package. You know its like ungodly, I can cut a minute fifteen package
in twenty minutes now and make it look better you know than the one that took me three hours. I mean its
just ridiculous. I was so terrible. But I think that the difference between me and a lot of other people in this
kind of position is that I kind of, I had an idea of what I wanted to do you know Id seen this NPPA stuff
Id seen guys like Eric and Id seen their work and seen these NPPA tapes you know amazing storytelling
and I said to myself thats what I want to do. I dont know how to do it right now. Im not very good at
what I do. But Ill just start it and I think Im going to get there you know Ill just work really really hard at
it. So the first step was to realize you know Pueblo is not a good place for me to be. You know theres
nobody here to learn from. Its maybe too big of a market for me to start out in. So I need to get out of here
and maybe find someplace thats a good place for me to learn. I ended up working there for all of two
months and then left for a job in Boise Idaho. And a guy I had graduated from college with working at
Boise and about a month after Id started working in Pueblo I called him up you know to find out how his
job is going and how everything was asking him if he liked the job and he said he loved it. He said it was
great, he loved all the people he worked with. He was learning a lot. Then I told him my story and asked
him if he could ask around and see if there were any openings out there. So I wrote to the guy he worked
for, sent a tape to the guy in the mail, he said hey I liked your tape, hired me over the phone, and two weeks
later I was gone. And Boise was one of those weird places where it was an amazing place to work because
there were photographers who were there photographer/editors who were just phenomenal. Way more
talented than the market should have allowed. With a market 125 you know its pretty much halfway down
you know the list of markets and some of the guys that were there at the time were absolutely amazing.
Shooting for 15 20 years and just amazingly talented. And I got to learn from all those guys. I got to watch
them put together stories. I had them critique my stuff. And it helped me to become so much better a the
job and you know figure stuff out, in the meantime Id been on NPPAs website, buying up their old
contest tapes. Going home and watching these stories at night. Rewinding and you know how does he do
that? Just like getting ideas and you know saw that the way they bring that interview the next time Ive got
an interview like that Im going to do the same thing. And that was just huge for me. So NPPA is always a
huge huge part of my inspiration for the work that I do. Even still here you know all the kind of the mantra
of storytelling even though Im kind of half hour/hour long programming you know reality based
docudrama based you know home makeover shows whatever you know you can take all the same aspects
of storytelling which is pretty cool. So through, you know, watching all those tapes and learning from all
these guys and you know experimenting, trying different things with technique with shooting and editing
after about a year of being out at Boise kind of my whole path was I wanted to get back to Denver. Denver,
I wanted to get back to Denver, my family lives in Denver. Unfortunately you cant get a job in Denver
right out of school. Its a huge market, an 18 market. Its not the kind of place that you could or should be


able to get a job right out of school. You know its for people that have been in the business for years and
years that are very good at their job or so I thought. So my path was to start small and work my way up and
then you know end up back in Denver. So the next logical step was to you know in a 125 market in Boise,
the next logical step was to pick someplace somewhere in the middle. Between 125 and 18 you know
where am I going to go? So got on TV jobs, Im sure you been there. Looked around for, you know one of
the great features is that its got all the markets listed and all the stations and all that. You know Im like
alright look in between here and here so what are my options? Where can I go? And ended up finding a job
in Austin, Texas. Austin was about a 60 market at the time and it was kind of right there in the middle. It
was the perfect place to be. Never lived in Texas before so was lucky enough got flown out for an interview
and they hired me to be a photographer for the Fox station in Austin. It was a great experience. Texas is
pretty hot and humid. Never want to live there ever again. But again a lot of talented people there. I got to
work with some very talented people. And you know just being around them and watching their work,
having them look at my stuff, getting some ideas from them you know continuing to get new stuff from
NPPA and watch what these guys are doing. I start myself entering NPPA contests now for photography
and getting feedback you know from critique sheets and all that. I was really starting to get an idea all right
well this works but this doesnt work. I can try this and I havent tried this yet so Ill do that next time. And
I already know this works so pretty much you know everybodys got their little bag of tricks. What I was
doing was, as I found things that worked, I kind of tucked that away. Alright Ill have to do that again
someday, oh thats a good thing Ill copy that, oh thats a good way to key frame an audio or you know cut
on the beat or you know get that kind of shot or intercut like that. And so you know watching all that stuff
from NPPA and critiquing and being critiqued by my coworkers and you know at this point you know even
watching you know getting ideas from watching TV and movies always pretty much turning on MTV
anytime of the day Id sit and watch it in slow motion and say how in the world do they do that? Its great
to get ideas from doing stuff like that. I did that this weekend. I saw a show called Scarred on MTV which
was absolutely fucking amazing. And I saw the show and I wanted to edit the show. I thought it was so
cool. I was just riveted. So I still get ideas from different things like that. And ended working in Austin for
about five months and
(part two, 00:04:20) Brian: (regarding Erics Thunder Mountain) It was the, kind of only people in NPPA
circles would know this, but it was, that story inspired 50 knock offs probably for people all over the
country trying, who saw that story that he did and tried to do the same thing with some racetrack in their
town. And none of them ever came close. Aw man, thats storys so cool.
(00:09:46) Keren: Eric said it took him 5 years to get good at editing. Proficient at pushing buttons. And
another 5 years to be a good storyteller. So a decade of effort on his part brings him to where he could be
happy with his work. Whereas four years of undergrad, really three because you dont do anything in your
first year, and youre supposed to have a job? And do what? You know because they dont teach
storytelling. So youre learning a program that may or may not be the one you work on when you get to the
station and then you dont even have the basics of storytelling. You know the theory part of it
Brian: Do you even want to get into the fact that editors are disappearing and there probably wont even be
very many of them in newsrooms anymore? Do you want to get to that later?
Keren: We can go ahead and do it now. I was going to ask you why you left.
Brian: When I graduated from college, when I got close to graduating from college, I got really scared
cause I didnt want to leave college. It was pretty comfortable, I was having a pretty good time, I had lots
of friends over in school and I was not really all that keen on going into the news business. It was not ever
something that I really pictured myself doing. I knew that I was going to have to move all over the country
and that didnt really appeal to me cause I just wanted to stay in Colorado. I mean it just you know, I saw, I
saw guys like Eric, I saw their stories, I saw all this NPPA stuff and I thought it was really really cool but it
didnt change for me the fact that I didnt want to leave. You know I wanted to stay in my comfort zone
and not you know step outside of that. And going and working in news requires moving away living,
probably living alone for the first time, you know, graduating from college you know that was a really hard
thing for me to do. And I was never really interested in news. I just kind of you know to give you a bit of
my background I started college as an engineering major. I was approved to Colorado State University as
an engineering major. And then before I ever took a class I realized that I was terrible at that at math. So
that kind of defeats the purpose of being an engineering major. So, in all honesty I had this little pamphlet
that had all the courses in it and on the back it listed out all of the majors that they offer. And I went


through it and I stopped on journalism and thought that would be cool. So, honestly, that was how I got into
it. Out of that particular day flipping through the book it sounded like it would be something cool and so
went to the school personally and asked them to change my major in the journalism department I said hey
can I transfer over here? And they said sure. And that was how I did it, I never wrote for a school
newspaper. Never took pictures for the yearbook. Never did much writing other than five part essays, three
part essays for class. You know I never did much of any of that. Certainly never picked up a video camera.
Had never done any editing. I didnt even have a color monitor on my computer or any of that stuff. It was
just kind of a shock start I dont even know why I really did it. How I felt on that one given day, you know
I knew I wouldnt be good at that other thing so you know what would be kind of cool and fun to try? So
that was how I got into the whole thing. So I was in college at CSU. Did a lot of work, probably two and a
half years, with CTV, which is the campus television station there. They had some really great higher end
equipment and they had some straight cut editing. They had some non-linear editing, which was just
coming around there back in the late nineties. You know getting popular and more reasonably priced for
people to have and for schools to have. So I kind of got my hand in on that just a little bit. And was
working at this student TV station kind of with the plan of alright this is going to teach me the technique,
kind of the basics of all this stuff. Not really paying any attention much to storytelling. But this will teach
me how to do this and then Ill go get a job making commercials or doing some kind of post--production or
corporate video. Something like that because that will let me stay in Denver you know I wont have to deal
with all this news nonsense. And that will be great. And then I started getting into the higher level classes
and it didnt get a whole lot past technique. I think my capstone journalism class, which is the one that Eric
came and talked to, we got a little bit, we had a lot of guest speakers, which was great because we got the
real life this is what its all about. And they showed their work and that was a huge inspiration and that kind
of got me thinking a little bit more about maybe changing my stuff a little bit. And also in that capstone
class the professor that I had (name) authors textbooks, you may have one, he has been a guy thats been
involved in the NPPA for thirty years.
(00:16:05) and hes a huge proponent of it, tried to talk everybody into going to the workshop. Like I said I
couldnt afford to go. But he got a lot more into the storytelling aspect of it. And the guest speakers came
by. They got a lot more into the storytelling aspect of it. So it wasnt until pretty much the last semester of
school that I had that really storytelling was even brought up in class. You know its too little too late to
have it just come up in one class and not until the very end. That should almost be a concentration and
class, it should be a storytelling concentration. But that was kind of what the, that was kind of what turned
me into wanting to do news. One thing I realized, like I said, I wasnt very good. I was terrible. I had a lot
of good ideas and I kind of new where I wanted to go, but you know I hadnt done this thing every day for
eight or ten hours a day for any period of time and I was a typical college student I didnt work very hard
you know we had two weeks to get a piece together and Id do it you know the night before. Which is
pretty much how everybody does it.
Keren: Ive met you. You sit in my Avid lab.
(00:17:30) Brian: I mean I just never tried all that hard. And so it really took me going out into the real
world and discovering that I wasnt very good and the only thing that I was prepared for the only thing that
my four years of school prepared me for was to get a job in TV news. And in that the only thing that I was
prepared for was to get a job as an editor or photographer or both. Because I wasnt a very good writer. Id
never done any reporting when I was in school. I had done very little writing when I was in school. So that
was all I had prepared myself for. So I kind of got around the last couple of months before graduation and I
realized you know that this is it. I cant do anything else. So what Im going to do is Im going to work my
way back to Denver. Im going to stay I this business for three or four years. Then Im going to get that
cushy post-production job. Do whatever, make commercials, I never was one of those guys that wanted to
make movies or like so many people are like Im going to win an academy award. I never cared. I decided
it was cool to, you know I was one of those typical guys that wanted to make snowboard videos and all that
kind of cool stuff you know that somebody a kid when theyre in college want to make. And I thought you
know it would be really cool to do that for a living. Work someplace like here or someplace similar after
working in news for a couple of years. So that was pretty much why I decided to get into news in the first
place. I realized I cant do anything else. You know I got my damn school and I was graduating and I cant
get any other job. This is the only thing that I prepared myself for. And I was okay at it. So I was willing to
give it a shot. And I would be moving out to the middle of nowhere for a couple of years.
(00:19:21) So fast forward to the story I told earlier about all the experiences through Pueblo and Austin,
Pueblo Boise Austin, and then where the story left off was there was a spot open for an editor at KMGH


here in town and I didnt want to stop shooting. Id been shooting ever since I left college. And that was
what I really enjoyed. Shooting and editing. I could do both and ended up coming back I ended up seeing
that job posted and I had only been in Austin you know for four or five months and pretty much just got the
bug to get back home. And said you know give it a shot you know see what happens apply for the job. And
I came out for the interview, got offered the job and it was I think a ten thousand dollar raise and so that
was awesome. And got to be back home. Be around friends and family and that was great. And that was
pretty much mission accomplished. You know I finally made it back to Denver. Not in the capacity that I
wanted to be but I thought Ill give this a try and see what its like. So I kind of set some goals for myself at
that point in time.
(part three 00:00:24) Keren: So you were finally going to tell me why you left the news business.
Brian: Oh, okay, okay. So when I finally got back to Denver again I thought I was going to get fired.
Because I saw how great a lot of these people that I was working with were and I said to myself Im okay at
what I do but Im only a year and a half out of college and you guys are just amazing. I cant even touch
any of these guys. So I set a goal for myself to get better to learn as much as I could to never stop learning
so that when I had accomplished whatever goals that I was setting for myself that I would keep pushing
myself even further past that and never get complacent about you know oh Ive gotten to a certain point and
thats it. And so I never really set any specific goals for myself they kind of just came along the way. I got a
lot more of the NPPA type stuff when I got to Denver and so I started entering some of the contests, editing
contests, you know Id put stories in for that. I got critiques back, that was helpful to get feedback there. I
got to watch lots of great stories from my coworkers and I also got to learn a lot from them. I continued to
watch the NPPA tapes to get more and more ideas. Got to know some of the other guys, some of the other
big names in town who I hadnt met before. I got to see some of their work and that was a huge inspiration.
And I met Mike Harrity and Mike was the chairman of the national editing competition for several years.
So through Mike ended up being able to get a hold of some of the tapes that were submitted for that contest
and watch some of those tapes and Id just get more ideas. What other people are doing so what can I do
differently. What new ideas can I try, what new stuff can I do? And so it was just kind of a, every time I
would accomplish something, like alright well now I want to do this. Alright well now I want to do this. So
eventually it got to the point after being in Denver for a couple of years Im like you know Im doing pretty
damn good work. I think I can win this really big contest. Im going to win the editor of the year. And so
put the tape in for several years, you know had no luck. Never even come in like third place or fourth place
theres always one person that was really great and another person who was really close behind and you
know I was kind of a second tier. Like you know Id have a couple of good stories but you know not a great
tape. You know the tape that you submit for that has a little bit of everything. It has stuff that you cut, you
know really quality work that you cut in under an hour its called Under Deadline. You know high effects,
big effects type stories you know with lots of boxes, dissolves, layering and all that kind of stuff. You know
straight cut pieces, you know no effect at all. Nat sound stories with no reporter track. Got a little bit of
everything so you really have to kind of be a complete editor in order to even enter the contest. Because
you have to be able to do a little bit of everything. And do a little bit of everything really good. So I
continued entering that contest and in the meantime I was doing well in other places, you know won a
bunch of emmys, which was really cool but that was still one thing that I wanted to do was you know I kept
entering that contest because that was the next thing I wanted to do. And so 2002 I said I wanted to be in
the quarterly contest. Im like well this is pretty cool. This is a really big deal but still not the big one.
Because theres two editors of the year every year, the one that won the national competition and then one
that wins the quarterly competition. So people are sending in stories every three months. So if the story
wins then the story is assigned a point value and whoever has the most points at the end of the year wins
that contest. So that was the first one that I had won. And that was really cool. So that really got me kind of
pumped to win the other contest. And the same year that I had won that quarterly contest I just had a
terrible year for stories. To go 12 months and not really have much of anything to show for it was just
terrible. I was really disappointed in myself because I felt like I went 12 months and didnt have anything
to show for it. It wasnt even winning the award it was the fact that Ive got all these stories and none of
them are really all that good. Theres not a story here that I would want to put on a resume tape. Or you
know keep with me for years and years. Its like a (muffled) year. And I got to thinking you know how in
the world do you go 12 months and not be able to cut a single thing thats worth keeping? And I was really
disappointed in myself for doing that. And right after that I ended up just kind of kicking it up into high
gear and you know really getting motivated to go after you know whatever stories were out there. Whatever
I could get my hands on anytime anything happens. It so happened there was a blizzard about a week after
the contest results came out when I didnt win anything and I ended up doing a couple stories that ended up


on my editor of the year tape for that year. You know over the course of the rest of the year I did some
really really great work. I was really motivated to tell great stories that year. I ended up winning the contest
and then got all these speaking tours that everybody that wins the contest goes on and I went all over the
country and talked to people and that was great but at the same time doing all of that made my work suffer
because I was so busy planning lectures and traveling all over the place that I didnt have as much time to
devote to my actually work. Which is why you dont see very many people win editor of the year
photographer of the year any of those big awards two years in a row. Because the year after youre usually
so busy doing all this other stuff and being bombarded by people from around the country you know trying
to get critiques and all that kind of stuff which is totally cool too. But it takes away from the time that you
spent the previous year you know telling stories. So I didnt think I had any chance to win the following
year. I thought I had some good stories on my tape but I didnt think it was nearly as good as the year
before. But I ended up winning the second year too so I won two years in a row and it was totally mind
blowing to me. And I did all the speaking engagements and that was really cool I got to meet a lot of great
people and see a lot of great stories from other people you know still adding to my bag of tricks you know
watching other peoples stuff. I still do that today. I watch peoples work here. I still take stuff from them.
I think thats going to be cool to use some other day. You never know. Really after the first time I won the
award I was pretty much like you know I did as much as I ever wanted to do.
(00:08:53) Telling stories was great, but the majority of the news editors job is cutting VOs and cutting
VOSOTs and cutting, you know, revoice packages from the network. And its not all that fun. Thats what I
did probably 80% 90% of the time was just you know these B.S. little stories. 30 second VOs and
VOSOTS and just you know the general assignment, daily grind type stuff. You know only 10% of the
time you get to do that fun work that great work that you win awards for that you enter in contests. And you
know that shows off that great storytelling. But you only get to do that a fraction of the amount of time that
youre at work. It kind of wears on you. I mean I had won all these awards and done everything, a ton more
than I had even imagined I could ever do within this business. I worked in the news business for years
longer than I even thought that I would. Just because you know I kind of got comfortable doing this. I got
paid a lot of money which is generally a deterrent to leaving. Um that really is the biggest reason that I
decided to leave the news business. I decided to leave because the challenge was gone. And there was just
no more motivation and the 90% of the time that I spent cutting VOs and VOSOTs and retrack packages
finally overpowered the 10% percent of the time I got to cut stories. And it just wasnt any fun anymore.
You know when you get a couple of days a month where you enjoy your job and the rest of it is just grind
its just not any fun anymore. You know and its hard at first Ill bet with Eric, I dont know how much
Eric shoots anymore but, photographers in general have a whole lot more opportunity to tell good stories on
a daily basis. An NPPA photographer can easily go out and turn a run of the mill story into some great
award winning story about the city council meeting. Its completely possible, Ive seen it done. I know that
they can do that. Me on the other hand theres nothing thats going to change a V.O., theres nothing thats
going to change a VOSOT, theres nothing that going to change a retrack network package or a good
housekeeping story from some feed tape. I mean that is what it is. I cant spruce up a VO, I cant make it
really fancy and add music to it and nat sound it just does not work that way. So
Keren: cut and paste, get it out
Brain: Yeah, I mean and I was really good at it. I was really fast. Fast, kind of my little mantra that I had
when I was a news editor was you need to be three things: fast, accurate, creative. Those were the three big
things that you had to be. You need to be fast because youre under deadline and you need to get things
done in a hurry. You need to be accurate because if you show the wrong person youre going to get sued.
You need to be creative because thats what sets you apart from everybody else. Theres so many people
that graduate from college that have the technical know how, know how to push buttons and have
absolutely no idea how to tell stories. So If you can be all three of those then you could go kick ass
somewhere. And that is kind of what I prided myself on being able to do was you know to have those three
things. And really in that order. You know the most important thing when youre working in news and this
goes for all editing I mean it applies to my current job to is you have to be fast. If youre not fast then
youre taking too much time and youre not going to make your deadline and people arent going to want to
work with you. So you got to be fast. In news particularly I worked on the 11am 5pm and 6pm news show
every day for like 6 years. Pretty much just those shows. So I had three deadlines everyday that I had to
meet. And youve got to get, especially with the linear stuff like VOs youve got to be able to bang those
things out. And I got to be you know on a straight cut machine we didnt have, we had newscutters that we
could edit packages on but the daily stuff was beta fx tape to tape. And I got to be really really really fast at
doing that just from practicing. You know, it was a goal. I need to do this fast you know see how fast you


can do it. And you know that goes hand in hand with the accuracy part, you know not only showing the
right person or you know showing the right scene like were not showing the fire when were supposed to
be showing the press conference but accuracy in making sure that all the edits are clean. Making sure
theres no flash frames, theres no camera movement in the shot. Making sure that, thats a huge thing you
know you could get a steady shot from your photographers, but sometimes you do sometimes you dont,
generally if you make sure that you take the extra time you know flip through the tape and make sure that
youre using the best shots, the shots that most accurately portray whatever the script that is written and you
know the correct shot. So thats really important and then you know rarely in a VO do you get to be
creative but you know that really applies more to the package editing. Youve only got an hour and youve
got the story that they spent all day shooting and youve got three takes youve got great stuff to work with
youve got great nat sound youre working with the best reporter in the station youd better be able to put
something together in an hour that is looks like you spent two hours working on it. So thats where in news
your quickness comes into play there is when you really are under the gun and youve got to get something
done then it shouldnt look like you threw it together in 45 minutes. It should look like you spent a long
time working on it. And that just comes from being able to work very very quickly. So that was what I
always would strive for was to be all of those things. And you know most of the time that was the case so
most of the time it did work out. But thats the very long extended story of why I decided to leave was just
you know theres just wasnt a whole lot more that I felt like I could accomplish. What am I going to do,
win editor of the year 10 years in a row? Thats cool you know if I stayed in the business then you know
maybe I would have. You know I dont doubt my abilities so I dont have any question that if the right
story would come my way that I could have won it ten years in a row. So what, you know, how many times
can you win an award or win a contest or whatever it is? And prove to everybody that youre good at what
you do. I had done it more than enough times. Now I can proudly say that I work for the most part speaks
for itself. You know if I give somebody a tape without a single word on it a single year of experience, they
didnt know anything about me I would expect for them to see my tape and say that is a kick-ass tape and
that person was really good. Thats really what its all about in this business anyway is how good is your
(00:16:55) So when I was running the internship program for the editors and photographers at KMGH I
always wanted to see a tape come from these college kids and if anybody did and I was always surprised to
see that a lot of these kids didnt have a tape. Like they werent doing any editing but they expected to learn
it you know in their internship but I was like no you learn it in school and then you come and intern with
me and then I make you really good at it. And then I get you ready to go and get a job. Thats how it works.
Im not here to teach you how to press buttons. You learn how to press buttons in school and then come to
me to learn the story telling part of it. And that was you know you talk about not having that taught in
school, that was a big focus for me with my interns was always making sure that you know I take kids that
were going to come and intern with me that were motivated and that really wanted it just like I had really
wanted it when I first started and even if they werent great at what they were doing if they at least you
know had the basics of editing down then I could turn them into you know whatever they wanted to be. Its
totally clich but the more effort that you put into an internship the more that you get out of it. And theres
some places you can intern and get completely screwed, you know make coffee, take out the trash and do
all that, I ran my kids through assignments three times a week. You know alright youve got to edit this, see
how fast you can do it, youre under the gun, do it right now. You know Id go through and Id critique it
with them. Id give them another one and say alright now youve got an hour, what can you do in an hour?
Finish it. And by the time these kids were done I mean theres, Ive got kids that intern with me that are
shooting and editing in Denver now there were just you know they made it all the way back. You know
after years and years of toiling away in small markets. That is cool. And thats huge for me I mean that was
the whole reason that I ever volunteered to take over the internship in the first place was because I never
had anything like that and I wanted to give that to other people. So thats just huge for me that all these kids
theyre 20/21 year old kids back working with me years and years ago and now theyre 4/5 years down the
road and theyre you know theyve got these big time jobs and theyre doing all this great work. Weve
gotten really off topic, where can you get me back on topic?
(00:19:44) Keren: Anywhere you talk about editing youre not off topic. When you said that you critiqued
their work, what did you critique?
Brian: For the interns you mean?
Keren: Mmm hmm, what were you looking for?


Brian I mean a lot of the stuff when they would first start with the internshipwell the first thing that I
made them do is they couldnt touch the Avid until they could cut a package tape to tape in under an hour.
That was the first thing they had to do. So the sooner that you can cut a package in under and hour the
sooner that we could get in on the Avid and I can teach you to do the non-linear stuff. So the reason I did
that is because you know as prolific as Avid and Final Cut and all these non-linear programs are that are in
newsrooms these days, all lot of small market places are still tape to tape and a lot of editing programs in
colleges are all non linear. And it makes absolutely no sense to learn how to edit in a non linear
environment when your first job or your second job or your first 4 jobs are all going to be tape to tape. Its
a dying skill that not a whole lot of people I think that are starting in the business today really have. So that
was the whole reason why I made them do it. Everybody understood they wanted to learn the non linear but
they knew that I wasnt that I was the real deal sowhen they would first start out I mean I think
probably the first package that they got to edit I probably didnt put a time limit on it I mean it probably
took two or three hours to do it. And we would watch it and go overa lot of times toward the beginning
of the internship Ill teach a lot of technical things. You know we talked a little bit about storytelling from
the beginning in terms of, in particular in terms of using nat sound and incorporating that into the story.
Were not very good at mixing audio and you have a little audio mixer when youre cutting tape to tape so
youre kind of hitting edit and on the fly I dont know how much tape to tape editing youve done but.
Keren: very little.
Brian: you know youve got to wait for the light to come up and you ramp it up and you ramp it back down
and you know theres a lot to it. You know its not an easy thing to do. You know you have to work at it a
little bit. A lot of it was just technical thing like making sure youre ramping your audio which is the same
in a non linear which, look at that (pointing to his avid project), how many key frames can you count in that
one scene right there? You know were always up and down and ramping, dissolving, and going all over
the place. And every place you see a key frame there on tracks 5 through 8 thats a cut of music where
youve got a pause in the sound and the musics coming up were cutting to the music and then were
coming back down again. So I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, that one is the show open, 7, 8 in a minute and a half.
Keren: explain that to me, I want to see what youre talking about.
(00:23:27) Brian: So you know simple stuff like that its just making sure that youre ramping youre not
just you know the audio doesnt just (name) used to say fall off a cliff. Youre eye would be there and then
it would edit out it would be gone. And that never works cause you know even if its a 2 frame dissolve
you know in a non linear environment youre audio needs to ramp down, it needs to be clean. The way I
always look at editing audio is that everything should be seamless. You should be able to watch an entire
story an entire package an entire show in this case and everything should be seamless it should just kind of
be there and nothing should be really unexpected. Like something comes up something goes down.
Something comes back up and something goes back down. And if there is something thats really jarring
then its jarring because I wanted it to be because I wanted you to notice something. So theres never
anything just kind of hitting you out of nowhere without my causing it to do that. And thats the way that I
think it should be because if not then what are you doing? Obviously youve made some kind of a mistake
if youre not paying attention to every little thing that you do. Same thing goes for shots. Another thing is
shot selection and shot pacing, thats another thing that we go over a lot with the interns from the
beginning. Its a very technical kind of thing. You know okay what kind of shots okay so weve got 11
different shots that make sense with this VO or to cover this soundbite so which ones do I use and how do
I cut them back to back. When do I start one and when I have that one finished, start the next one? And so
we talk about you know basic things like in something like this when theres music then most of the time
unless youre trying to be disjointed which some people are and sometimes theres a reason to do it, most
of the time you cut on the beat. (plays a scene). Like that. Theres it is what is that you know its a slowed
down nat zoom on the beat, you know. Makes perfect sense. Its not weird to see that at all because I expect
to see it when I hear that kind of a beat. So, you know cut on the beat, if you cut on the beat of somebodys
breath, so you know when theres a natural pause in somebodys soundbite or a natural pause in a VO from
a reporter thats where you start the next shot. When they start talking about, when they change topics,
when they start talking about something else, thats where you change a shot. I mean if you look at the
pacing of the shots through here youll see everything is almost like its got its own little heartbeat.
Theres shots are cut to the music. Theres shots are cut to the pacing of somebodys voice. And theres
shots that well cut on the pacing of a soundbite. (Plays scene) I mean theres absolutely no you know


reason to not do that. I mean its notbut I mean as far as cutting on the pacing of the soundbite or cutting
on the pacing of the VO track, its exactly the same thing. You know, heres this guys VO (plays it) you
know its just (quotes VO). Do you hear that or is it just me? Do I have like special hearing?
Keren: No, I edit the same way, but I do tell my students to be weary of being predictable. Because some
people edit on the beat, the same beat, the same predictable obsessive, you know, I can count the
point where I know whats coming up. You shouldnt expect something from a package, I think. Right?
You shouldnt expect to see the next cut.
Brian: Well, thats part of for me you know having that pacing is part of the story being seamless. Because
if theres a natural pause there or not even a natural pause but a natural place to cut and I couldnt even give
you a definition of what a natural place to cut is, its when you have a soundbite or you have a reporter
track thats 10 seconds long and you listen to it then I hear cut there. Cut there. Cut there. Cut there. I just
hear it. Or I hear oh thats a perfect place to cut that reporters track in half, bring up the nat sound of the
fire crackling and then bring it back down and continue on with the rest of the reporters track. Because it
makes sense with what the reporters saying, and theres a natural pause right there. I just hear that when I
you know when youre doing like an A roll cut of something and just laying the sound down. You know I
just kind of hear that kind of thing and go from there. And when youre cutting tape to tape you dont
always have that ability, so when I was cutting something on a deadline tape to tape then I would kind of
have to scan through the tape first and see if there was even anything usable as far as nat sound went. And
then as I was building the story I would kind of say oh that looks like a good place on the script and that
looks like a good place and maybe right there and maybe right there. Id get to that point in the story and
say okay that works but that doesnt work, try that there. And youre doing this all sequentially so if I get to
that soundbite now Ive got to go find that fire, Ive got to bring it up, bring it back down and move right
along. You know its infinitely more difficult to cut a really good story, a well told story under deadline in
a tape to tape environment. Particularly when youre the editor and you dont know what any of the video
is. Its a whole lot easier and it always is for photographers to do that because they know whats on the
tape, they shot it all. Thats why, I dont know if youve gone through this with Eric at all earlier or not, but
probably the best editors particularly news editors from anywhere are all photographers. And thats their
position thats their title, photographer. And thats the difference between what I do and what they do even
though I still shot some when I was at KMGH too and so working as an editor for years and years and
seeing all of these great shots and great stories made me an infinitely better photographer. So I had done it
for a couple of years and it was just a fun thing to go out and do. But when you have the ability to pick and
choose what shot youre getting in the field, and you already know what they all are by the time you get
back into the edit bay, then yeah, you know, if I have the same talent as a photographer but he already
knows all that stuff and he got exactly what he needs, then you know if we have the same talent level his is
going to turn out better every single time. Because he has a distinct advantage of picking the shots and
already knowing what they are. Where as I might have five minutes to grab two tapes and shuttle through
40 or 50 minutes worth of video and kind of make a guess of it. Thats the difference between a good editor
who is just an editor and a good editor whos a photographer. I mean its a completely different skill set to
be able to do one then the other. And you put an extremely talented photographer whos an editor who also
edits their work and just make them edit other peoples work and you probably will find that it takes them
quite a bit longer to get their stuff done. Just because theyre not used to that. Theyre used to working with
their own stuff. All of a sudden theyve got to edit somebody elses work? Its a much more difficult task
then...not to say that they couldnt be just as good I mean theyve been doing it for a while but at the same
time as a photographer and me, a photographer and Iyou know that photographer would be able to edit a
better story than I would had they picked the shots knowing what all the video is I would be able to beat the
pants off of them if we were both editing somebody elses work. Because thats what I do every day. Hes
used to editing his own stuff. Thats the difference between the two skill sets. So, if he does it long enough,
if he breaks his leg and cant shoot for a while and does it you know every day eight hours a day for maybe
two months then yeah hell be able to acclimate pretty quickly towell be equally as good.
(00:33:25) Keren: I asked him that actually, I asked him if he thought it was easier to edit when he got to
Brian: Are you kidding? Its 500 times easier to edit your own stuff.
Keren: Well, what he said was that he you know works really hard obviously no matter what hes doing but
that he would feel more pressure in a good way like to make sure, he knows, because hes a photographer,


he knows how important the work is to the photographer and they went and put all that effort into shooting
something and its left on his desk to make it he would feel horrible if he destroyed their work. So he would
work twice as hard maybe longer than he should but he would make sure that that particular project came
out right.
Brian: Well, hes very rare in attitude. Thats a KUSA attitude right there. Most of the time, and this is the
miracle of me winning one editor of the year award let alone two or four as the case may be is that the
photography at KMGH is not all that great. It doesnt even come anywhere near KUSA. Not even close in
terms of, not only in terms of the number of photographers at KUSA where they have 10 or 12 more
photographers than KMGH does, but back in 2002 3 4 5 when I was doing all that work there were maybe
you know while KUSA has maybe 10 or 12 bad ass award winning, great story telling photographers on
their staff KMGH had maybe 1 or 2 people that you know even interested, were involved in NPPA or even
cared about the storytelling. And reporters I mean by the time I left KMGH there were no good reporters
there. There were zero good storytelling reporters. There were only maybe three or four when I first started
and over the course of the 6 years I spent at KMGH they all left. They either got jobs elsewhere or they
freelanced or didnt get their contract renewed and didnt come back for whatever reason. So combine no
reporters who know how to tell a story you know that didnt have talent, knew how to write around the
video but not to the video. So I dont know how much of that NPPA, Boyd Hooper knowledge and mumbo
jumbo youve got but have you ever heard him speak?
Keren: No, but the dean of the undergrads is friends with him.
Brian: Oh, I saw him here in Denver actually last year he came to talk to KUSA. I had already left the
business but I was going to say hi to friends that were here and my college friends and got seats. Nobodys
better. He should give a class that every college student has to take for a whole year. Hes that kind
ofwell. So my challenge was that I had no good reporters. I had a limited number of photographers who
cared at all if they used a tripod even. You know let alone try to tell a story. These guys said oh Ive been
doing this for 20 year Im just going to go and spray the scene off the shoulder. And so you know what
thats what I had to work with. And there was nothing that could be done about it. It was the way it was. I
complained and complained and complained you know got a bad reputation you know with the news
director as a whiner because I was saying hey this is Denver its supposed to be you know the pinnacle of
news photography in the country and weve got 50 year old guys going out there shooting 10 medium shots
off the shoulder and thats all I get? Thats ridiculous! And theyd say sorry the guys been here for 30
years you cant touch him. Its just one of those things, you know? Eventually I accepted it. I realized you
know Denver is not all its cracked up to be. KUSA is kind of an entity onto itself the rest of the stations
havent got it. KMGH John Goheen, NPPA photographer of the year used to work at KMGH and does
freelance work base out of Denver here. So theres been some amazing photography at KMGH. KCNCs
had a bunch of photographers of the years. Theyve got some good editors that work there now. Channel 2
my God the independent whatever it is now WB/CW whatever it isan independent station thats churning
out some good work now? The Fox station has some good photographers? Its like people go through lean
years, heavy years, KMGH, or KUSA has always been on top of things in terms of storytelling thats cause
they have history of it. You know guys like Eric who have been there for 20 some odd years and just kept
going. No ones been that way at the other stations.
(00:40:35) Keren: You know Eric talked about the same thing actually.
Brian: Whats that? About KUSAs legacy of storytelling?
Keren: No. No. He would have every right to but no he didnt. About teamwork. He actually talked about
that a little bit. About how its not enough to have a good editor. You can have the best editor it doesnt
even matter if you dont have the photographer an the reporter and the producer and the news director to go
with it.
Brian: I mean everybody has to be on board in order to make it work. And that was kind of the big the wow
for me that I was able to do what I did at a station that didnt focus on that. And one of the big reasons that
I was able to do that is because a lot of the work that I did that I was really happy with was proud of a lot of
the great storytelling that I did do was nat sound stories. So I didnt have to get a reporter involved. Why?
Well, I would have but there werent any good reporters around. So, what can you do? Well, tell a story
without, with a VO. Im not the worlds greatest writer so Im not going to be one of those


editor/photographers that go out there and write their own VO and then it sucks and the story gets dragged
down by it because I know that Im not very good at it so Im not even going to bother. Besides its almost
like the high art of editing, of storytelling is to be able to tell a story stand alone by itself and it doesnt
need any reporter track. You dont need somebody to help tell the story because people tell the stories
themselves. And so I always thought that was so cool. And I think actually the first nat sound story I ever
saw was the stuff that Eric showed my class. And I just remember just being completely blown away by
seeing some of that stuff that are you kidding me you can actually tell a story and you dont need a reporter.
And I just thought that was the coolest thing it was just like you know I was just literally blown away by it.
I saw the Thunder Mountain and several other stories that he had that were all nat sound and did he put the
one of my other favorites of was a story about the kindergarteners at the orchestra.
Keren: You know Mike also asked if he put that on there and I said no. But I want to look at this story and I
want to see it now!
(00:43:22) Brian: The reason thats story, its the its like the textbook example of action and reaction.
Because he got you know its like the typical NPPA lockdown wide medium tight story everything is
following off the tripod, great angles, composition, um you know excellent editing, the pacing, the timing
and everything is great. But just the cutting back and forth from the people playing the instruments to the
little kids you know doing their thing was priceless. And I mean I havent seen that story either in like 10
years, or I havent seen Thunder Mountain in 10 years either but I still remember them 10 years later. And
the reason is because they make that big of an impression. The freak thing is that you know that I have
spoke in Flint Michigan or Omaha you know in the last couple years, showed stories, and people are still
talking about those stories. You know that just kind of blows my mind to even think about.
Keren: thats going to be a whole thesis of mine so get ready.
Brian: The whole teamwork part of it, if you dont have that it just makes it ridiculously hard to try and be a
good storyteller. You know you look at good places like KUSA and KARE in Minneapolis and to some
extent some other stations in Denver some other stations in Minneapolis and what else do you have? Not a
whole lot. You might have a couple of sparkling places I think that (wave?) in Louisville has got some
good storytelling some stations up in Seattle used to be pretty big and the San Diego station is not any more
it used to be it was a station of the year like 10 years ago. I dont think they do jack anymore. Its one of
those things where they were huge they were big NPPA they were a lot of people there that really
supported it, those people left and it all went away. And thats what KUSA has that all of those places
dont. Theyve got people that have stuck around for a long time and have pushed it. You guys like Eric
who are NPPA photographers and started out as overnight editors years and years ago and worked their
way up you know ended up twenty years later being in charge of everything and you know keep all of that
alive. I wouldnt be surprised that the reason guys like Mike and Eric stick around and continue working at
KUSA is because they have a lot of (muffled) in there, the legacy of all of that you know you cant just its
not that easy I dont think to turn your back, you know. There was never any of that going on at KMGH. I
never felt any of that. I never felt like me walking away is going to turn the station, is going to make the
station be terrible. There were still some pretty decent people there to continue doing good work after I left.
Id like to think that I was missed when I left but at the same time I wasnt just walking away from any
great dynasty. I was like hey look I won this award twice that was cool it made the station look good and
you know I mean Im not really happy working here anymore so Im leaving.
Keren: It seems to me based on what you were saying earlier that you didnt really learn much from the
station so much as your own motivation to go to the NPPA website and learn from what they show you.
Through the tapes, or whatever.
Brian: I think that its a very rare TV station for you to work at where your chief editor your chief
photographer and your news director will actually push storytelling. Push you to want to get better. You
know its not the kind of thing that a lot of people a lot of places are really all that supportive of. Because
the bottom line for the most part everybody cares about ratings and whether you tell good stories or not if
the numbers are good then anyone wouldnt care how you get it there. Thats why consultants come in and
say alright no more tripods. Were learning (muffled) now, thats all were going ot do or consultants come
in and tell the reporters what make up to wear and tell the news director fire hat reporter because that
persons not you know TV friendly. Or switch those people around, you know try something different or
you know change the logo of your station or change the and when I was in Boise we changed to Six on


your Side from whtever we were at and you know it started the whole franchise of were helping the
community were six on your side and when I worked at KMGH they started a whole Call 7 thing they
stole from some other ABC station somewhere else across the country where they started a call center
where people could call in with their complaints and we could run stories about how we resolved them. Its
all consultant driven. Whether it works or not, whether any more people watch or they journey to the
website you know for more money or they watch the news for higher ratings for more money I dont know
if any of that stuff ever works and you cant really quantitatively prove anything.
Keren: Actually you can.
Well, you can say that thats what it was was but that doesnt necessarily mean that its because you did
Keren: No I mean you can disprove what they say to be the case. Because nobody, how do you argue with
consultants when you dont have that study in front of you that says look Im telling you storytelling good
fire the ugly guy bad. Six on your side useless Eric working here genius.
Brian: Thats why its so important to have kinda everybody in some way shape or form committed to it
because its not going to, thats why its worked at KUSA and why you know every other station that you
look around, KUSA and KARE are the two that come to mind. Look at KSTP, I dont know how familiar
you are with that story of KSTP in Minneapolis. Huge NPPA station had another 2 time editor of the year
John Minell worked out of KSTP. They had a couple of photographers of the year come out of there. I
think they were station of the year like 10 years ago. They hired a new news director, comes in, cleans
house. All of a sudden, KSTP, not a storytelling station anymore. Just like that. You within I think 2 or 3
months they either fired or fired a bunch of people or those people left, either left the business or left for
jobs at other stations. I think half their photographers and like almost all their editors within like 3 months.
Its ridiculous. You know thats how fast the tide can turn. So you know something like what theyve got
going at KUSA you just cant find very often cause all it takes is a news director getting the boot, even
general managers getting the boot and somebody new comes in and says youre going to do it this way. All
you can do is take it or quit. I mean thats really all there is to it. So thats why its such a rare thing. TALK
Brain: You know the funny about that is if you look to a lot of us especially in the last 5, 6, 7 years, that its
going to be the exact opposite. That films are now taking from an MTV style music video and stuff look at
like Charlies Angels directed by a music video director McG and thats funny because I think that the
exact opposite is happening and he wanted his movie to look just like MTV instead of the other way
around. But I mean I certainly agree with your assessment that there are aspects from aspects used in news
that are taken from well not even necessarily film but from other areas that arent news. From MTV. You
know think of any place where they shoot video or film and edit into something and youll probably find
something theyve done in news. Because somebody who works in news thats really creative saw that took
that idea, put it in their bag of tricks and then it ended up back on there. I would say I take more ideas from
TV shows than I do from films.
Keren: Is that where you get a lot of your inspiration from?
Brian: I dont really get honestly these days a terrible amount of inspiration from anywhere because
everything has been done. You know you got to rehash the format a different way of doing the same thing
you know its like that show scarred on MTV I really loved, I mean they did a lot of fast editing. Like 4, 5,
6 frame editing. Like tight to wide, different stuff interspliced with this interview that was done very NPPA
style. They would do like a lockdown interview and they would cut during the interview, I dont know if
they had two cameras or how many cameras they had at the shoot, but they would go on like super-tight
just their mouth talking or just their eyes as they were talking and thats very NPPA you know being totally
abstract like that. Getting kind of the emotion of that different area and cut back and forth between that. So
you know I see something like that and I mean somebody doing something in a different way and you
know I rewind that again and again you know. I say ah you know thats cool you know its there in the bag.
Ready for the day I have the opportunity for something like that. Editing like that will not come up very
often on a show like what Im doing right now. This stuff is in my world pretty cut and dry. Its not a whole
lot of crazy creativity which to me is very important for myself. Thats where I get inspiration is from


seeing the same old thing being used in a way that I perceive to be good work, which I think is really cool.
But I mean I still love watching great news stories. When they come out I still like to watch, I still am an
NPPA memberif youre a TV member and not a print member they send you the contest winners of the
Keren: Its online too, thats how I found you guys.
Brian: Its easier for me to watch it on the DVD cause my connection is iffy at best. I love watching the
winners stories and the editor of the year, photographer of the year. Seeing what kind of work theyre
doing. Im always out to see whats different that I havent seen before. Or whats getting used in different
ways. Give me an idea to do something else. I think thats one thing that makes it prettymynot even
my ability but more my attitude from so many other people that have done this for as long as I have for 10,
15, 20 years. Never have I ever stopped learning. I have never stopped trying to figure out news ways and
better ways to do the same old thing. And maybe I get that from watching a TV show or maybe Im just
working on something and it seems natural and it just happens. I love to say, every time my wife and I
watch 24, do you watch 24? They do the same thing at the beginning of every show and its this little editing
trick where theres a swish pan and a freeze frame, swish pan and a freeze frame and thats the transition
between shots at the beginning of the show if you ever pay attention to that. Next time 24 is on just watch
the first like minute of the show and youll see that. And every time I see that I say I dont know who came
up with that or where they got that from but I did that before the show was ever on. Maybe somebody saw
my story and stole that from me. Because I just did that on a whim one day. Did I send you the Herse story?
Keren: I was going to tell you that that was my favorite one.
Brian: I did that in that story.
(01:12:58) Brian: Did I put the boxing story on there? That was another one that I stole the idea for doing
the boxing story from photographer Doug Burgess, I dont know if that rings a bell or not, hes a
photographer at WFAA in Dallas. Hes a big NPPA guy. WFAA tried to hire me years and years ago and I
was then in the fortunate position of saying oh okay, you guys do good work there, why dont you send me
a tape. That was just like the opposite of how its supposed to work; Im supposed to send out a tape. And
so they send me a tape and it had a couple stories from Doug and a couple stories some other big guys who
worked at WPPA at the time and one of the stories was this amazing boxing story that he shot. It was about
this guy who had been to prison and got out of prison and was like making his comeback to be a boxer and
had those changed life around moments. I didnt care about the story so much, it was a good story, what
fascinated me was the way a boxing story cut together. And all the different ways that you can cut sparring
together, hitting the bag together, the punching together, just how all that works and Doug did a killer job
on the story. I thought it was so cool and saw that story, didnt take the job obviously, but love that story
and from that moment on tucked that one away too. Said you know what I want to do a boxing story
because I think it would be so fun to edit because you can do so much with it. And the same thing happened
again, got bored, wanted to go out and do a story and wanted to find some different angles, what can you
do? Women boxing, thats kind of a new thing thats going on or go for the local guy whos coming up you
know that kind inspirational type story and happened upon this youth boxing program that just also had his
really, even though it took place in Colorado Springs. Went up and spent a bunch of time with this program
up there and actually shot a bunch of tape with them and then like month later they had this big tournament
and Id already established a relationship with all these people having gone up there so they were totally
comfortable putting on mics doing whatever ignoring me kind of like I wasnt there. Got amazing sound
and great pictures. Mostly due to the relationship that I had already formed with those people. Cause I dont
think they would have let me just walk up the day of and follow them around like that. So that was where
that story came from. That was the whole point of this was that came from, you know, it wasnt an NPPA
tape but it was a story from an NPPA station that I happened to get my hands on that I thought was just the
coolest and that was the reason I did it because I thought it would be cool so you know someday I want to
do that. Its like 5 years later that I end up doing it.
Keren: I noticed that you repeated that bell sound throughout the entire piece.


Brian: Some people found that very annoying.

Keren: Do you remember if the bell represents something in that package?
Brian: The only thing, the bell didnt represent anything. The bell was in there so many times because for
me the whole point of natural sound as its related to story telling is you know youre as a photographer
somewhat as the editor but mostly as the photographer because I shot that story too is youre kind of the
eyes and ears of all of your viewers. You know when youre at any given place, so its not just your job its
your responsibility to let that come through in the story that you tell. To make it sound make it look like
youre actually there. If you were at that place, all the nat sounds in there, thats what you hear. That damn
bell rings all the time. Thats why its in there. And so the bell is in there not only because its a great
transition to get from one thing to another, but also because the nat sound is there because I want people to
know what it was like to be there. And that bell goes and goes and goes and youre hearing that thing every
couple of minutes the entire time youre there. And I was there for seven hours that day. A long day.
Keren: likens the bell to Vegas.
Brian: Exactly. Thats story was a long day. I did that by myself. So it was the photographer and the
photographer alone. And the greatest compliment I ever got on that story was showing it in North Carolina
or someplace and this guy came up to me after I was done presenting and asked me about the story and
asked how many people were out there shooting and it was just me. That was the whole point thats what it
was supposed to look like. So I mean I went up and down and left and right and I probably walked five
miles just inside this place just going upstairs, downstairs and up to the passage way and down to the
ringside and all around and all over the place. And you know when you see something like that in front of
you and you dont put that effort in then youre totally robbing the viewers. I mean I had the time and I had
the ability and if I chose to just call it in and say thats enough I got plenty I dont need to talk to another
person, I dont need to go up on the railing and do that, I dont need to put a mic on that guy while hes
doing whatever, I dont need to climb all the way to the top of the stairs to get another angle from the other
side then the viewers dont get an actual portrayal of what it was like to be there. And thats like I said
were the eyes and ears the photographers so its my job to give you as accurate of a portrayal as I can of
what it was actually like to be there through my eyes. And through the lives of the people that I choose, you
know thats the subjective part of it obviously I didnt talk to everybody. I talked to a couple of people. I
talked to the crazy old man that said that women should be home making babies which is, I just smiled at
him yeah. Thats the funny thing as far as interviewing people goes. I always talk about after I show that
story people always, that always gets a huge laugh when people watch that story and the moral to that is I
was finishing interviewing that guy and he hadnt really given me anything and Im like okay you know
hes the token old guy there, hes the godfather of Colorado boxing or whatever hes supposed to be so Ill
sit down and talk to him cause its early and things hadnt really started building up and I finish up and I
did what any good photographer does I said, is there anything else you want to say? Is there anything else
you want to add? And he just went off on all that. Hes like well, Id like to say something about women in
boxing and I was like oh would you? Its like I hadnt even thought about asking that so thats the moral, I
mean thats the lesson to take away from that entire piece its like that from that entire piece, Im really
happy with how that story came out. Thats like the money bite in the whole thing. Its like you cant pay
for that soundbite to come from such a crazy old man saying something like that. And the only reason I got
that bite is because I asked that question. So its kind of a token cursory thing youre supposed to do you
know when youre interviewing somebody always anyway 99 percent of the time theyll say no thats fine,
were done. But that one percent of the time youll get that. So always ask that question.
(01:29:14) Brian: In news and around here that terms is thrown around a lot. To most people in news, to
most reporters at least, who are writing scripts, montage means throw a couple of shots together all on a
sequence. Thats what a montage is to most reporters. That may be the case for a lot of editors and
photographers too. They would equate montage to sequence. Like a matched action sequence or a sequence
of nat sound boom boom boom something like that. Thats what people call in the business thats what
people call a montage. When somebody says and throw a fast montage up there whether they know what


theyre talking about or whether Im hearing them correctly doesnt make a difference because I know what
theyre talking about. And theyre almost always talking about a quick sequence of shots either typically
like a nat sound sequence of you know door opens, key in car ignition, car drives off.
Keren: Sequence, not montage.
Brian: Thats the terms that people use for sequence. Not a sequence of video. Not just like oh Im covering
this VO and I happened to get 8 shots from different angles and focal lengths of this person sitting at a desk
and so Im cutting them together in a sequence but typically more like a nat sound type sequence. Thats
what, either that or random shots cut to music. Like I bet you I could pull 20 people in here 15 of them
would say this is a montage.
Keren: They would say that but that doesnt mean anything.
Brian: No.
Keren: Its an establishing sequence.
Brian: But they would call it a montage of shots.
Keren: Its troublesome. And its quite what Schaeffer gets at isnt it? That we dont share a language.
Everybody has their own version of what theyre talking about.
Brian: Well, in my mind everybody that Im associated with in this business, in the news business thats
their definition of a montage. So apparently the academics definition of a montage goes above and beyond
what the news, the layperson
Keren: Well, the idea I think is that if you can create a language or adapt a language and apply it to the
news, perhaps people wont use it today, but over time whatevers deemed acceptable will leak in. It would
be nice if we all had the same ideaheres why it matters is that you see Ive been going down this, they
get more complicated right, its more than just pacing, and you well know this, that these actual montages
right what film people would consider to be a montage because they have meaning and texture and more
than just sequencing they tell the story. That is the story. The essence of the story.
Brian: I guess my big questions would be in these definitions of montage whats the video covering? Can it
cover anything? Can it cover dialogue?
Keren: Yes.
Brian: And it can be over music?
Keren: Yes.
Brian: So its pretty much a sequence of shots
Keren: It can be over music.
Brian: Its a sequence of shots used anywhere that conveys some other kind of meaning? Thats the first
time Im ever hearing that kind of definition for montage.
Keren: TALKS ABOUT ANALYTICAL MONTAGE AND DEFINES IT. Describing the example of a car
accident and seeing each car heading towards each other and then jump to the mess.
(01:33:57) Brian: If you show the accident then is it not a montage, its a sequence?
Keren: Yes, you can show the accident. But thats not theasking the audience to participate is where
montage comes in.


Brian: Okay, I think I just figured out exactly what you are talking about. Basically its just, in these
definitions, the, basically its just that the video is telling a story more than just showing up on the screen.
Theres something more to it.
(01:35:14) Brian: Something that we do a lot of in this show is we have sunrises and sunsets and moon
shots and stuff like that and those are transitions between certain elements that are supposed to tell you that
a day has gone by or that several days have gone by or weeks have gone by. So its an element of time
transition. Which to me meets that definition of montage in that were showing the sun rising and sun
setting and the moon flying by and youre supposed to get that all of a sudden now time has passed.
Basically you need to make an inference from the video that something is going on. So Im inferring from
that time laps sunset shot that you know its the end of the day and the next time we see something its
going to be the next day. Thats somethingI would never call that a montage. Im not saying that I
wouldnt in the future, if we decided to change our language but Ive never been, no one has ever given me
that definition for a montage. The definition of montage for everyone Ive ever worked with professionally
is a sequence of shots. The inference of it meaning something more is never there. Thats more of a youre
supposed to infer something then you know I think that sometimes you have its more of like an iconic shot
that you infer something from. You know you see somebody thats waiting, waiting, waiting, pacing,
pacing, waiting for something to happen and then the phone rings and then we dont have to hear the phone
conversation we know whats going on because we cut completely to the next scene and weve taken some
kind of inference from the phone call that hey the news is here there we go.
Keren: you just described a great example of a sequential montage. I mean a film person would cry to know
that this is what montage meansa sequence. Its nothing but symbolism, right? Why have a film if you
dont have symbolism?
Brian: And you know theres an awful lot of that in news photography. And in this kind of post-production
cable reality show stuff too. Its kind of (muffled) stuff for the most part. Its probably you know the
forefront of film editors minds but I think for the most part its like well well use this symbolic shot in
there because we dont have what we need to tell the story so we have to show it another way and let
somebody infer that seeing what we do have or it would be more powerful if you show that. Its more
powerful sometimes to show the cross and the teddy bear and the flowers hanging on you know sitting on
the side of the road where a car crashed than to back and find file video of a car crash.
Keren: Well, but youre using the exact words that Im trying to get at right?
Brian: But no one in news would ever call that a montage.
Keren: Because nobody called it a montage.
(01:38:50) Brian: Right, exactly. Now Im understanding your definition of montage. Now it makes
complete sense to me.
Keren: It is all I see in good news editing. In anything that has won for NPPA awards there is more than
justI mean otherwise what you have essentially is a VOSOT, right? Or a VO.
Brian: Well, really what you are talking about the ability of the news photographer to capture those iconic
images that people will see and be able to infer something from. Thats all it sounds like to me, what were
talking about. And thats a great point to be made I think that you cant really teach somebody to do that. I
think you can learn how to do it but I mean I dont think Eric could sit there with a photographer from
market 150 and show them some stories and say you need to, you should be looking for a shot like that
because thats the shot that really tells the story. Thats the kind of thing thats like over time it starts to
sink in. You cant just tell somebody to go do it and have them go do it.
Keren: I dont know, I dont think anyone ever tried.
Brian: It would be worth a shot. I totally agree with what youre saying though is that great news stories
have those powerful things. Its like you were talking about the bell from that story. Now I wasnt thinking


about it you know in academic terms when I was putting it in there. I was thinking about it in terms of
pacing of story, in terms of transition to get from one place to another, making sure that I wasnt cheating
the viewers by making sure that I had the sound of it in there. That was what was in the front of my mind.
Keren: But then you were thinking in academic terms.
Brian: I was but I wasnt you know as I was putting those shots in there I wasnt thinking people will see
this and they will say theyre at a boxing match. So if they turn it on in the middle of the story they will
know exactly whats going on. That was never something, I mean, that was a subconscious thing.
Keren: But it is why you did it. I mean did I understand that correctly? Cause what I heard you say was
Brain: Yes. Yes. In the end thats a big reason why its there and the big reason why I did it because its a
big NPPA thing and thats where I learned storytelling. So, I dont thinkits such a great point you hit on
though, um, its not something I think people would talk about. So, you could probably write a whole book
on it.
Keren: And Im being encouraged to do so. I dont know that I want to but its out there.
Brian: Well, at the very least, a little grammar of the edit, you know 75 pager. With interviews with guys
like Eric and so on and so forth.
Keren: And you. Like it or not, like it or lump it youre part of it now. (muffled) So far its all Ive found
and I said in my thesis intro. If I find more then Ill mention them, if I find something that doesnt fit in
with a purpose.
(01:44:24) Brian: Well thats like what I was talking about earlier where my goal is to make everything
seamless unless I want something to be jarring on purpose. And that should never like that accidentally.
Somebody shouldnt be watching the story and be like woah what was that if theres not a reason for me to
be doing that so when you see stuff like you know the dial tone you know just that sound and youve got
zooming into that cell phone with 911 over whatever the hell I had it over, a picture or somethingI mean
thats jarring on purpose you know for basically the only that thats done, the only reason I did it is to get
peoples attention. Because thats the kind of story where you kind of get hit a couple of times during the
story with jarring moments the cop, you know its done on purpose its not like when you watch that Callie
story and you watch the whole thing and its up and its down and its pretty smooth and everything flows
in and flows out and theres never really a moment of woah what was that. But you know the whole point
of that 911 story is to be scared to be alarmed to be aware of whats going on.
Keren: I mean you could have, could have, in the Callie story, when the parents, you ought not but you
could have, when the parents were talking about the day that they got the call
Brian: Like dramatized that and somehowsure.
Keren: Not that you should but you could have.
Brian: And you know I have gotten into this discussion with people too about the 911 story and usually Im
the person that brings it up because to spark the conversation of you know how far can you go when youve
got a video for a story in terms of reenactment. And when do you cross the line because its a big NPPA no
no of staging. You know its like a news story youre telling the story you shouldnt be setting anything up.
You shouldnt be you know getting ready like in a movie and bringing everything out and then saying okay
go ahead. Or oh can you do that again. Thats a big big no no. Which is hilarious because these shows are
like 90% bullshit. These reality shows. Like can you do that again? Can you walk in the room again? No
wait no we didnt have sound. Can you walk into the room again? Its like fuck you. It was really hard
actually when I first started working here having to deal with that. I was alarmed at how fake reality TV is.
Its so not real. There are certain shows that I like to catch every once in a while because they really are


(01:50:46) Brian: A huge part of the frustration of working for a TV station for six years was working with
reporters getting ten medium shots off the shoulder for a VO. Some of them were better than others you
had to capitalize on it when its good you know thats how I won those two editor of the year awards was
those couple of times during the year something big came along and I sucked every bit of it that I could you
know, summoned all of the creativity that I had from the whole year into making those opportunities into
something worthwhile. Because God knows day in day out the work there was not that good just because I
didnt have anything to work with. Its one of those things. It takes people like KUSA you know youve got
to have good management, have good directors, reporters, photographers, theyve got to get good stories,
take them back, theyve got to have good editors, you know have all those pieces then you know then
theres a break in the chain somewhere thats going to suffer and viewers are going to be turned off by it.
Youre doing a disservice to viewers by not giving them the best story, the most accurate, most complete
story possible. And that includes stuff like nat sound, you know if there was something going on out there
that was making a racket, and you didnt have nat sound up somewhere so people could hear that and
understand what it was like to be there then they dont really understand what your storys all about. If you
said there was a large water main break and its shooting water everywhere and youre like 5 blocks away
shootingwhats it like to hear 5 million gallons of water flying all over the street? You know thats an
injustice to people you know watching the story who cant hear that. Sorry, I get off on my little speaking
points here from my old daysTALK ABOUT CHANNEL 33.
(01:54:40) Keren: I think that for some people news is like charades. You know, were acting out reality.
The illusion of reality.
Brian: And a lot of people just want to be on TV. Thats why a lot of people become reporters. When you
get something good from the reporters you capitalize on it. Most places, great stories dont come along all
that often. If youre lucky enough to get one make sure you take full advantage.
Brian: Well, you dont even need that I mean for something thats been going on for years now that you see
all the time on the news is that shot of like soldiers boots in the picture and the rifle. What does that say?
Dead soldier. And you see that all the time.
Keren: You know if you take that picture and you put it on top of the American flag waving.
Brian: Its totally different. Take that and put it on top of the Taliban training video. Soits blowing my
mind. Blowing my mind here. I just, the way that my mind works, I just do that, I dontits more
subconscious for me, I dont actually think about it. Im like oh, that makes sense do that.
Keren: But it comes from growing up withI think we all take for granted the fact that we were exposed to
this because of film so much throughout our lives whereas maybe fifty years ago it wouldnt have been this
way So we dont have names for them, but we do them and we think of like, we think its just natural but
no, you are subconsciously mimicking things, I think, that you understand to be how you relate visually to
your viewer. How you can explain things because the fact is was written down at some point. People did
write this down and say this is what it is and how it works. We just dont learn it anymore.
Brian: I believe that.
Keren: I dont know what it might do to know these things, I have no idea, perhaps it will just help people
who dont think about it normally.
(02:00:11) Brian: and I kind of hit on this a little bit earlier too but what youre talking about and especially
in terms of trying to teach this, especially in any sort of undergraduate particularly at any university level,
its a concept in my mind thats way too far advanced for anybody in college or even just out of college. I
mean its almost, its such, considering the education that kids already get in TV regardless of I dont care
if anyones at Missouri or Colorado State or anyplace that supposedly has a good TV program LSU or
wherever, you know, graduate from that school youre not going to be ready, I dont think, my personal
opinion, I dont think youre going to be ready to learn all of that. I think its too far of an advanced sort of
process that you have to go through while youre working to be able to make any sense ofI understand
what youre talking about perfectly, but Ive been doing this for a long time. And the reason is the reason I


say this and Im not saying its not a good idea to even have you know a fucking three credit semester class
on this you know maybe it will sink in people will get it later or have the textbook and refer back to it later,
the problem is when you graduate from college for 99% of the people who graduate from college with any
kind of broadcast degree is theyre now going off into the real world slaving away for 8 hours a day 5 days
a week at a job that theyre not used to and are probably not very good at. And so all their focus for the
most part which is like mine and thats on keeping their job and doing everything they can to keep their job
and make the news director happy and associating images with montages and all that, its going to be very
very far away from anybodys mind until they get into a comfort zone where theyre comfortable with the
day to day and technical aspects of their job. So once youve been doing it for how ever long it takes, 6
months, a year
Keren: Eric said 5.
Brian: Different, yeah, different people you know. Once youre comfortable like I know about 6 months
after I started shooting I remember it was kind of like a light bulb to coin an Oprah phrase I had a light bulb
moment I was going into work and saying you know what? This isnt hard anymore. Because up until that
point, work was hard. And it was a challenge every day to go in and figure out the right way to do things.
And not even the right way to do things but know which buttons to push, what was where and how does the
camera work and how to I white balance, whats the right focal length, whats a sequence and how do I
make all of this stuff work together and when do I use the light kit and not use it and when do I use a tripod
and not use it and this and that and the other and how do you put a microphone on somebody and do you
put the chord over their shoulder, do you put it under their shirt and whats the best way to do all of this
stuff when to use a shotgun mic, you know, and I have crappy equipment, how am I going to deal with all
of this stuff. For me it was about 6 months after I had started shooting I was in Boise I remember one day I
was just thinking that you know what I get it. You know, Im not all that good, but I see whats good and I
know whats good and I know thats what I want to do and thats where I want to be. And Im not there yet
but its no longer a chore to come into work and Im no longer worried about losing my job. Now I can
come into work every day and focus on doing good work. Up until that point it was come in and focus on
not getting fired. And I think until you reach that threshold I dont think youre really physically capable of
taking in a concept like that. I think its too much to handle because man Ill tell you what the first couple
of months after school maybe even a year out of school of being an editor or photographer is big time
stress. Huge huge stress. Because youre doing it for the first time. You know nobody, I cant think of
anybody who ever treated an internship at a TV station or any of that as a full time job. And its impossible
because youve got classes. Youve got partying, youve got all that stuff and you cant, you cant. And
even for some of the hardcore kids that interned with me that you know worked at the student TV station 3,
4 times a week, you know maybe 4/5 hours a day. It was just huge, like a full-time job. Even those kids
when they finally got into the real world struggled quite a bit from what they told me. So I do think its a
good idea to implant that in them while theyre still going to school and give them a reference because I
mean I still have Grammar of the Edit. Ive gone back and looked at it every once in a while just to say hey
whats in Grammar of the Edit thats interesting I havent looked at this in five years.
(02:06:00) Keren: I agree. I think that it is too much. But I think everything you learn in undergrad is too
much. And you either fall back on it later or you dont have those capabilities and.I mean if you were to
learn literature in undergrad, you are going to learn this version for literature. You going to learn about
metaphors and similes and not just literally that a metaphor is I am a lion its not thats not what youre
learning, youre learning that theres a deeper meaning behind it, youre learning that that is powerful that
using those words matters that you could just write the story asand actually these are the words Im using
in my thesis, you could tell an account or you can tell a story. You know, not the same thing. And news can
be an account, or it can be a story. I can get who where what when why from a fire down the street and
thats fine, theres nothing wrong with that but I will remember the story. And maybe do something about
it. Right? I mean thats how I imagine news to matter. And it would be great if some system was in place to
get people who just never connected it in their heads to do what you did. To do what Eric does.
Brian: Yeah, thats I mean, dont get me wrong I think that its really an amazing idea toI think it would
be a great idea to haveyou know I dont think its enough, with what youre talking about, its not
enough to include this as a week during your capstone journalism class. If you really want to do it right
then it needs to be a 2 or 3 credit class that you go to for an hour 2 or 3 times a week for an entire semester
I mean in order to go over all this stuff you really would have to do that. I really do stick to my idea that
nobody would get it and the reason nobody would get it is that kids have a hard enough time not leaving


flash frames and not cutting 5 wide shots back to back or 5 medium shots back to back to even think about
layering a cop badge with a black piece of tape over it with a dead cops picture.
Keren: was that yours?
Brian: No that wasnt. But, I guarantee Ive done it at some point in time but I dont think it was on one of
the stories that I sent.
Keren: Eric did that. That exact thing that you just picked.
Brian: Yeah you told me about it earlier.
Keren: No, I didnt tell you about the black.
Brian: Oh, so, thats what dead cops
Keren: I dont mean to laugh but I think thats, I didnt say that you said it, you know?
Brian: That had been done umpteen number of different times in every city youve ever been to and
whether people realized what they were doing at the time or not, I dont know maybe they just thought it
looked cool, I dont know. In thethis is a good example that just comes to mind, TALK ABOUT HIS 911
FOR 911. (02:11:35) But in that story, exactly what youre talking about, theres a shot of the pentagon
with about a 5 second layered dissolve of the waving American flag going over it which is, why I did that,
I did that more, cause I think of this stuff more not much as in montages I think of things as being iconic or
not iconic. In this show we use for sale signs as being something thats iconic so youll see particularly in
its open, for sale, for sale, for sale. You see it all the time. And the reason being, its kind of my choice, my
shaping of the show, to put those signs in there because well youre doing a show about people buying
houses whats iconic about buying a house. Well, for sale signs. So thats why we see for sale signs. Well,
the reason that I layered that American flag over the pentagon was because to me that was an iconic image.
Two iconic images. Weve got the bombed pentagon weve got American flag the two together equals big
emotion. What was I trying to do? I was trying to draw emotion out of the piece. So, matching Enya,
Pentagon, waving American flag, you know, big emotion.
Keren: And Im sure that was successful and you do know why you do those things.
Brian: Right, see thats the thing. I think about them in different terms thanI think the term that I use is
iconic, the term that news people use people here use would be sequence or montage. When they say
montage they mean sequence. I think about it in terms of what, when I think iconic I think this is iconic
cause this is conveying a meaning other than itself to people. Seeing for sale signs in a story about people
buying houses conveys, you know, reinforces the fact that hey this is a show that has to do with real estate
and houses being for sale.
Keren: That is montage.
Brian: Right, thats what Im saying. I just dont think about it in those terms. Cause I didnt take your
Keren: Because I didnt teach it yet.
Brian: So, if youre looking for a list of other terms that people use theres a couple that I can think of.
Keren: Thats perfect and thats exactly what I was looking for out of all of this. Im not trying to impose a
new way on the industry. Im just saying realize this before you start cutting
(02:14:47) Brian: You know where I got for the most part where I got the idea to do all these things was
from watching other NPPA stories. And its completely likely that other people got those from watching
other NPPA stories and somewhere down the line somebody got it from movies. I dont dispute that
whatsoever. I cant say directly that I got it from watching movies.


Keren: Do you recognize it when you see it?

Brian: Do I recognize whats going on? Yeah, I recognize this in anything Im watching. TV, you know,
movies, MTV, you know whatever happens to be on. If Im watching the local news I can recognize the
same that Im not always conscious to think about it but if I was to sit there and try to point everything out
then I certainly could. But for me if it did come from you know I think one of the assumptions youre
making is that these are cinematic elements that are being used in news. Right? So for me I would never
dispute that theres cinematic elements because they came from movies, but I cant say for sure that thats
where I got the idea. Maybe it is. If you asked I would say maybe a little bit but I would say mostly I got it
from watching other contest stories from NPPA. And where they got the idea from? I dont know. Maybe
theres this one guy out there that started doing it who never watched any movies and just figured it all out.
You know I mean I cant say one way or the other for sure like hey, I watch movies and thats where I got
it from. But I would be lying if I said that I dont watch movies and pay very close attention to the editing
and get ideas from movies too. But I think I do more from TV than I do from movies.
Keren: I dont think you necessarily got your particular style from there I dont know but I would imagine
that you didnt. But I think that we all got our understanding of how moving pictures work from movies.
Brian: Oh yeah, I mean I certainly was watching movies before I watched TV news.
(02:18:58) Brian: Which you dont get a lot of symbols in TV news I wouldnt think. In terms of well I
would think there would be a lot more
Keren: Rewatch it like that now. It would freak you out.
Brian: I will. If youre saying that symbols are abstract, I cant think of very many instances of things and
maybe I do it and dont even think about it but I cant think of very many instances that I purposely put in a
shot to mean nothing. Because to me theres always meaning behind everything so its not if something for
me is, and I could be wrong, I could go back and study my stories and maybe I was doing it but I would
think that if Im doing something its more of your definition of as a montage to infer meaning to
something not something I guess that would be my confusion there is there a difference between something
being symbolic and something being iconic?
Keren: Yes.
Brian: Because I dont, maybe I dont
Keren: You use icons kind of like symbols
Brian: Maybe Im kind of combining the two. If you have an example Id love to see it.
(02:21:53) Keren: Perhaps my use of the word montage is whats throwing you off. And I have another
possibility of a term that maybe is better for TV, but continuity and complexity editing. Its that idea that
one holds more meaning, right, continuity editing obviously being the equivalent of an account. This
happened then this happened then this happened. And complexity editing.
Brian: an account meaning sequential? Things are happening sequentially.
Keren: Yeah, I mean yes. And even if you went out of order, no you cant go out of order. Yes. Start to
finish. This is how it started, this is the middle, this is how it ended. Right? It doesnt add any extra
meaning its just telling you what happened. Its the account, right?
Brian: okay.


Keren: Its the reader really in the news story. In the news as opposed to the package which is complex,
well a good one, is complexity editing. Which is uh Im going to tell you the end first and then youre
going to want to see what happened at the beginning. Anything, any of the ones were talking about would
count as complexity editing.
Brian: Well, it goes to, and I totally agree with this assessment of kind of the Boyd Hooper method of
storytelling which is the onion analogy, peeling a layer off and then get to the next layer and get to the next
layer. Which, Im sure hes not the first person to use that but the most recent person that Ive heard to use
that analogy that storytelling is like an onion. You reveal one layer of the story, something else happens.
Thats not really the way Id look at things, I look at things more like stories have a surprise element to it.
The herse story, the big surprise is that theyre Herses. And you dont know in the first 30 seconds of the
story and all of a sudden you know it hits you and you know a big layer coming off in the Callie story is not
only did she kill herself but she had been raped.
Keren: Dont bring up the Callie story.
Brian: That comes up and like, I think as a viewer you see that and your jaw just drops.
Keren: Or you cry hysterically.
Brian: and thats what a good story does. In my estimation and what I have always tried to do in not only
the stories I sent to you but in the 50 other stories that Ive got you know at home on a hard drive waiting
for some day to get me another job in news if I ever lose this one you know great stories are stories where
you feel something and you dont just watch the story and observe the story but you really become part of
the story. You really feel like youre right in the middle of all of that.
Keren: Well, Ill ask you this then why do we need that? Why do we have these stories?
Brian: Well, I mean the whole reason to do it is because if you cant get your viewers to have that feeling.
If you cant get your viewers to become part of the story and to feel something or to have some call to
action or to really feel like whether they care about the story, whether they love it, whether they hate it, to
feel something about what youre showing them, you know make them all emotional by telling some sob
story. Then if you cant do that then people are going to stop watching TV news and its going to go away.
And its the same thing I hit on slightly earlier about editors going away as the technology advances. And
they dont need editors anymore. There will always be a place in TV news for people who are very highly
skilled. Will there always be a place for people who come in and cut VOs and VOSOTs? No. I mean
theres already less spots for them but theres going to be even less in the future because as everything goes
non linear, everything goes server based, then the people who get hired editors leave take another job they
dont get rehired. They start rehiringthey start hiring VJs or associate producers. Associate producers can
come in, take a story off the wire, write it, and edit it at their desk top. Why would you need an editor when
you could pay somebody right out of school 25 grand and 15 grand for the cost of the editor, not only is the
AP going to do serve the same function as the editor but theyre going to one up them and write the story
too taking stress off the producer of the show. So thats why and it goes back I mean it comes back around I
mean its the same thing with nat sound we talked about earlier that youre robbing viewers if its not there.
If its essential to the story if its going on then its essential to the story, you know? Because it brings
people into the story and thats your whole goal of telling the story is to take people from their little outside
world whatever theyre doing, making dinner or whatever, and give them a reason to care about the story
that youre telling. You know, what draws people in, its sounds, familiar sounds. Its the sound of that bell
ringing. Well, maybe it made all my coworkers crazy having to listen to it over and over again. But I
guarantee you if you were in the other room doing something else or off in the kitchen making dinner and
you heard that you probably would turn around wanting to see what it was. Maybe youll want to sit there,
and maybe youll watch the rest of the story. And maybe youd just get distracted and you would watch the
rest of the news and maybe youve got a Nielson box and we just got a quarter point and we just made 50
thousand dollars. Who knows. I mean thats all TV news is all based on fractions of Nielson ratings. Thats
all were really trying to do is to get people to keep watching that extra couple of minutes to get that extra
fraction of a ratings point. To make that extra money. To stay profitable, make sure everybody keeps their
jobs. Is that why I do it, no. thats why TV stations are in business. I do it I mean I did it because it was my
only joy in an otherwise boring job of cutting VOs and VOSOTs all day. Its not exactly how I pictured the
rest of my life coming into work okay who blew up who today and where are the storms and cause news is


all bad news. Thats the way it always has been and always will be, with very few happy moments so when
I tell a story, when I choose to go above and beyond and take my own personal time to make something
happen like with that boxing story, that was my day off, shot it, came back and edited it, during lunch
during free time during my days off. If Im going to choose to do something like that then its either going
to be an uplifting happy story or its going to be something that has a lot of emotion to it in terms of the
extent that you feel something. Not because in the end the whole is to get them to keep watching and to get
the money and to get the ratings. The goal is to do this but I never looked at it that way. The way I looked
at it was its like some big challenge. How can you hook a viewer into wanting to keep watching the story.
And thats what I love about surprises is kind of in the pace of whats going on you can reel them in so they
cant walk away because they just have to know whats going to happen. And they stick around for it and
then just blow them away and they want to keep watching and then if you continue to tell a good story and
continue to peel those layers away as the story progresses and they get more and more and more into the
story and the fact that there were x number of people thousands and thousands of people at home watching
the labors of my work is awesome. Its kind of freaky to know that youre doing that. And, you know, you
should be proud of what youre doing. And if you do a half-assed crappy job in your craft, basically what
REASON TO DO IT. For me the incentive was to tell these great stories. Even though if I only got to do 8
or 10 of them a year that was my big incentive, when is this next story going to come? BRIAN TALKS


Shea Interview
(00:10:47) Keren: I think the simplest way might be for you to tell me how you ended up where you are
Josh: Okay, um, I went to school at Metro State, here in Denver. And did an internship at channel nine
before, this was kind of like in the interim when Mike was at channel seven. So didnt know Mike at all.
So, through that internship I met some people at Oklahoma State and I went to Oklahoma City for about a
year and a half about half the time I was an editor, the other half of the time I was a producer. And then I
got sick of Oklahoma City so I came back home, took a freelance job at channel seven, missed Mike again.
Mike at this point was the chief at uh channel nine. And I, uh, thats how I met Mike just kind of
interviewing for jobs. And I got to know Mike. And after a while, this is kind of funny, a guy who was the
chief at, uh, channel sevena weird guy, and ah I was a freelancer trying to get a full-time job there as an
editor. And I was actually interviewing for two or three jobs I pretty much made up my mind I didnt want
to do that anymore but ah so there was a full time opening at channel seven and so I applied for it and did
all the interviews and stuff like that and one day I was going to work and the boss there tells me he says
hey, Im not going to give you a full-time job but Ive got good news our other freelancers leaving. So, I
had another part-time job and he says to me if you quit your other job well ah, Ill give you a pay raise.
And, wow, I was like okay, Ill do that. So, I went and quit my job, came back in to channel seven. A
couple days later hes like hey, is there any way you can get your old job back? Why? Well, cause were
getting rid of all of our freelancers. So, like within a week I ended up with my job at channel four. And
thats why I work at channel four. So, I started off at channel four as a part-time editor and after a few
months I was full-time. And thats where Ive been.
Keren: So youre only an editor.
(chat about how the other three guys came up in the business)
Keren: What do you findMike was curious to know what you have seen over the last ten years and how
you see the business and your job.
(00:15:00) Josh: Well, we just had a big switch cause we were tape-to-tape until about almost a month ago.
So now were all Avid. Were on a server. Its awesome, it really is. Its so efficient. And I mean we have
Bluetooth and stuff like that and we havent had a . Yet but Im sure its going to happen. But, I think its
really weird because so much is changing. And were a union shop. Were the only union shop in town.
And so theres a lot of talk about that, stuff like that. And especially with this new system is it going to
streamline workflow to point where they need editors as much as they did before. So theres a lot of
concern about that. I dont thinkI think youre always going to need editors in some some form but I
think the reality is that the positions you know its going to kind of hybrid. I think what youre going to
see is youre going to see some editors who just do special projects. They cut their long form pieces and
thats all they do. And eventually youre going to have writer-editors. Youre going to have peopleright
cause I think thats how thehow the systems going. I mean, theyre designing software Avid has
something called Instinct we dont have it yet, and from what I understand its not working the way its
supposed to but eventually its going to be efficient enough for you to write a story and edit it as we write
it. Now, will a producer ever be able to edit as well as I do? No.
(00:17:02) Keren: What sets you apart?
Josh: Well, its not just me and honestly I think that like our staff of editors is probably the most talented in
the country. Weve got three editors of the year on our staff. I justin DenverDenvers a weird market
because, and it has changed in the last three or four years, but I mean just ah, cause Ive been watching
news in Denver my whole life. Its always been, kind of, such an importance placed on pictures and
storytelling. And even before I was aware of what that stuff was, we kind of knew that, you know, this was
done well. And theres an attention to detail as I was learning my job this is where I noticed it the most you
know when I was an intern. And I was learning to do my job the attention to detail that these editors who
were teaching me what to do put into their job it was amazing. I mean they just, especially, I mean my
family lives in Kansas City so when I go back to visit my aunts and uncles and grandparents the news is
horrible its crazy, but most markets are like that. You know where things arent sequenced. And video


doesnt you know flow the way it should. And storytelling is not as important as covering black. You know
what I mean, just get it done. Because thats the way the news works.
Keren: So youre telling me that theres a difference between good editing and bad editing, or great editing
and regular editing
(00:19:09) Josh: Well, theresnotI meanwell, I would say within our own staff theres different
kinds of editors. And theyre all for the most part really good. But some people are more concerned about
doing special projects and more than concerned about doing the show. And so you see that the talent
expresses itself in different ways. But like I mean when youre editing the show, I mean, I think anytime I
mean when youre an editor your job isnt to take the bad parts out. Its so funny when I tell somebody
what I do I say Im an editor and they say oh so you take the bad parts out? And I say no, I put the good
parts in. And I really think thats the difference between a good editor and a bad editor is that a bad editor
would just hack video together. Theyll just cover the black and take out you know theyll put in the first
three shots and then pad it out with a fourth shot (muffled). A good editor will find the best shot to tell the
story. Theyll make sure that when an anchors reading a VO that what theyre referencing is being shown
as theyre reading it. And the same goes with a package. I mean, you can really tellI dont think with
VOif you watch somebodys VO you can tell how much they think about a story just in a VO.
(Keren shares a story about how bad channel 33 is in Baton Rouge)
(00:22:13) Josh: Number one I think some editors you knowits kind oftheres an evolution of kind of
the thought process of when youre editing. And, you know, I really think that the most important thing we
do is reinforce whats being said. And it occurs on such a subliminal level. I really think that if youre
doing if youre doing your job right if youre reinforcing whats being said you know people notice it on a
very small level. But when you dont do it, they notice it in a big way. If you say this red car hit the cement
truck and youre showing, you know, a blue car, you know it becomes so apparent that you know that that
somethings wrong. And thats when you know editing gets in the way. Thats your red flag that
somethings not right.
Keren: Did you learn to edit in your internship?
(00:23:24) Josh: Yes, I was actually a, I was a directing intern at channel nine. And the reason why I
became a directing intern I knewchannel nine was really cool because theyd come down to the college
and theyd interview us for internships. And so I knew a lot of channel nine interns at the college. And the
news interns had all these horror stories about how all they did was sit at the assignment desk the whole
day and answer phones and that was it. And so I knew going into my internship that I didnt want to be
stuck at a desk so I knew what directors did and that seemed kind of cool to me so I said I want to be a
directing intern. And so I never had to sit on the assignment desk. I mean, I did occasionally just to see
what was going on but because theres so much downtime too for directors I was able to write and edit and
actually the guy who taught me how to edit news works at channel four now. Its pretty funny, Mike Nunez
he was a 17 year old part time editor at channel nine. So hes still like 4 or 5 years younger than I am.
Keren: So he taught you the right way to edit?
(00:24:47) Josh: Well, he taught me how to you know. I mean, its such an evolution because I mean to say
that one person taught me the right way to edit wouldnt be right. I mean I think if theres one person that
taught me how to do my job well it would be my boss now. Steve Reisman.
Keren: Whats the difference. I mean, what did Mike teach you, what did Steve teach you
Josh: Well, Mike taught me howMike taught me technically how to do the job. You know, press this
button, press this button. And then hed watch and you say okay, you cant do this. You know, and I kinda
knew how to edit before I did that but he taught me how to edit for news. And so, I mean, Mike was critical
in me getting my first job. And another guy named Mike Stevens who also helped. I think hes at Fox now.
Anyway, so Mike taught me the technical side to the job and some of the you know what to do and what
not to do. Mike was still kind of learning too. So, but when I came back to Denver as an editor I got really
good. It was weird: when I started at channel four this girl named Inga Gill had just won editor of the year
and she was the first local news person to win editor of the year.


Keren: Why do you think that is?

(00:26:28) Josh: Ah, the first one to do it? At think, at that point in time, this was in 90I think she won it
for the year 97 so she was technically on the year 98. Um, I really think that Inga blew the cork off of it
cause after that all of it stayed local. So, I think at that point in time for the first, ah, four or five when they
started the contestcause the contest for editors has only been around for I think since like 93 or 94. So
like first four or five were like Dateline people. John Heijek who teaches at the Oklahoma City workshop.
Tressa Verna I think was the other one. So I think John won it like three or four years in a row and she
won it at least once maybe twice. I dont think that it occurred to local editors to say I could do that. Guys
from Denver were entering the contest. I think Inga just looked at the contest one day and said I can enter
there, you know, why not. I dont really know the numbers.the Dateline people at that point, you know, I
mean somebody at Dateline the stories that they did, somebody who works for NBC news you know if
youre a top guy youre going to spend a lot of time doing something.
Keren: Is time a big issue in your job?
Josh: Um, what do you mean?
Keren: To be able to edit well.
Josh: I mean it helps. My boss is so good about it though. I mean, hell really, hell give me as much time
as I think Ill need to do something. Obviously up until it airs. You know, if somethings airing
tonighthell do everything he can to make sure that I can spend as much time as possible that I think I
need to make something look good.
Keren: Cause Brian said he left because he felt that he was cutting more VOs and VOSOTs and not enough
special projects. And that the challenge was gone at that point. That literally like maybe 80 or 90 percent of
his time was spent doing that kind of editing not creative really and not interesting. But Im wondering, you
told me youre union and Im thinking this keeps coming up in these interviews the union and the nonunion news. Im wondering if maybe theres some connection there.
Josh: Well, were the only union shop.
Keren: Well, like okay, so you dont shoot the stuff becauseI mean I dont know a lot about unions. Like,
youve got your job description and youre not allowed to do someone elses job.
Josh: Were not really limited by that. Actually, we have, we even have anchors that edit their own stuff. I
mean, I dont know Brian at all, Ive never met him, but, cause I really do, I spend I mean it goes in waves
you know its funny like on my editor of the year tape when Im putting stuff together for the entry, I
hadnt really edited what I thought was worth saving past like August last year. So really I put stuff
together based on almost a half a year. So, I spend probably 90 percent of my time cutting VOs and Abs but
I dont dislike it. I actually, I like editing for shows. And I really thinkwe do have some editors that dont
like editing shows. They want to do special projects and theyll go out and theyll kind of (muffled) and
theyll try to schmooze people and try to get special projects and I think thats, I dont know if thats
putting a priority on what were really supposed to do. To me I look at it that the priority has to be the
newscast. If Im not making every VO every VOSOT every tease look as good as it possibly can then we
dont have the other stuff. You know, if Im not taking care of business on small things we dont have the
special projects to do because someone is not going to trust us and number two the newscast is why we
have special projects. The news of the day is the reason why they can do a three minute package in the B
block because we have VOs and and ABs in the A block. You know thats the reason why most people are
turning hands. I really think that when you get to a book where they start promoting special pieces, I dont
know how much you have that going on but were in the middle of a book right now. And weve gotten
better about this but it used to be wed come up with these crazy stories that wed never do any other time
of year but come February come May were doing these stories about old women who sell comic books on
Ebay. And they promote them. And I was convinced that it wouldnt work, that people, you know, thats
not going to make people watch the news. My theory was always that, if youre doing your job as well as
you can regardless of what the numbers are thats whats going to get people to watch. If youre doing your
job at a high level and youre doing these stories all the time. I mean, if you want to be the old Ebay lady


station, thats fine. Do it the whole year though. You know, do it all the time. And thats actually kind of
the direction that weve come to really, I mean our news director has taken us to a point now where were
doing these franchises called like Good Questions where somebody will send something in on the internet
and say hey whats the deal with trans fats. You know, whats the difference between that and another kind
of fat. And then well send a good question reporter out to go do that. And you know Im not a big fan of
franchise but its really cool that we are doing that all the time. Were not just doing it in February, were
doing it all the time. And so I really think that the consistency of doing your job well all the time is whats
going to provide the best news.
Keren: I was talking with Mike about a similar idea. We were trying to figure out where news was headed
because of the internet and the argument being why even have the VOs and the VOSOTs when you have
forty of them in an A block and you cant possibly retain all of that information.
Josh: We havent been doing a lot ofits so funny the whole thing is very cyclical. You know because I
think right now our stations gotten away from doing like the really good storytelling projects. Our numbers
are going up though. Our numbers have been really good. And were right behind nine. Were just behind
number 10. But its so cyclical because we, you know, it feels like were not doing it as many stories, you
know, as many good stories, feature stories as we used to and then it will be like that for a while and then it
comes back. And its all very cyclical. But I guess with the Internet thing, the thing that interests me is that
the people that sit up and watch ten minutes of raw video that well put a whole raw tapeand to me it
seemsits like watching paint dry. I dont watch the whole raw tape. You know, I mean I watch chunks
of it but Im going to shuttle through most of it. And I mean its crazy for me to you know, I mean I think
ultimately its going to be some kind of hybrid. Because you know the numbers just show that people arent
you know scheduling the time to watch television anymore. You know, whether it be TiVo or the Internet
its theyre finding other ways to watch television. So, its interesting for me to think thatI think the
novelty of being able to watch raw video is going to go away. I mean, I really think at some point in time
somebodys going to you know most people will go to the internet but theyre gonna say just give it to me.
Tell me what I need to know. People whose ultimately, you know, lives are convenient for watching a
whole story its their trying to.youre a college professor or you teach college so youre talking about
youre probably talking a lot about the gatekeeping theory and I think about the gatekeeping thing and you
know some people think of the gatekeeper as bad, theyre withholding information from you. I actually
look at it as I think gatekeepers are doing you a favor on the most part. Cause you know you hear a lot
when you have a job in the media about how youre evil. You know about you do this and youre not
telling us the whole thing but the reason why were not telling you the whole thing is because most of what
we know would just bore you. I sent you that email about if you wanted to watch me work it would be very
Keren: Well, it wouldnt be to a student of editing.
Josh: Well, I mean a lot of my job is sitting around waiting for stuff. And, its funny, you know I think that
none of our reporters really have an agenda that Im going to slant this this way or do this that way. Its just
more that this is what I have thats interesting and these conspiracy theories about the gatekeeper and the
Internets going to be some way around the gatekeeper its almost comical because I think right now the
key role when it comes to the role of local television news for the gatekeeper is just really filtering out bad
information. Bad just boring stuff.
Keren: were getting different things on the internet, theyre not necessarily better. CHATTER. So then, do
you see yourself as a storyteller?
(00:38:18) Josh: um..
Keren: Like, why do you think you won the award?
Josh: You know, let me tell you this about the award: I mean Im very honored that I won the award. Its a
very weird year for me to have won the award. Ive thought about this a lot that I actually thought the tape I
put in the past two years before that were a lot better. But I didnt place anything at all. I thought they were
stronger tapes. Well, the stories, I was watching the stories cause it was funny after I won I was like what
did I put on there? I forgot. I had no idea what I had put on that tape. So I had to watch it on the Poynter
website to figure out what I did and then put my tape together after that. Because the stories to me they


were well done stories and not necessarily on my end either. Like the girl wrestler story, you remember that
one? I just really think what made that good was how it was written and how it was shot. I mean I think the
way the reporter wrote the surprise in that its a girl. I mean, theres some reporters that would have just
started the story off that, you know, look theres a girl wrestler. You know but he kind of built up the
suspense a little until you found out and then you wait a little bit longer oh the coach was her dad. You
know its kind of, it just really good storytelling. Its a really well-written piece. And I guess the more and
more that I watch these stories I think that the thing thats unique about this tape versus the two tapes I had
before is that when I edited these stories it wasnt about me. Sometimes, you know, when youre editing
stuff and youre kind of editing stuff to impress your fellow editors. You know so you can show em and
kind of like show off. You know so you put a lot of effects in there and you put stuff in there that kind of
say look at it. Like youre showing off. Well, I think its more for other editors. I dont think its for the
viewers. Yeah, I think its for the other editors. I mean, and whats interesting about our staff is that
because we have such talented editors, theres just kind of like its not said from a manger but I think we
each kind of feel, feel this pressure because were around so many talented editors that I gotta show off a
little bit. I gotta shot these guys that Im as good as they are. But this last year I didnt really do that. I dont
know why. It just kind of shook down that way and looking at my tape its more of an NPPA classic style
of editing. What they teach at the workshops is basically whats on that tape. And so thats why I think I
won because they had judges that were looking for that. And thats essentially what it was. Because the
tapes that I put together in the past I had a lot of effects you know and I look at those stories and I think
they were very well done theyre honestly you know I think some of it was like Ive got the time to do this
Im gonna edit the shit out of this story and I did. And so I think I try to do my best to make each story fit
its own style. Every storys different. So you cant go into editing a story with an agenda. You know I
mean the story has to fit a style. I think Ive always done that. Ive always said this story is different than
that story so Im going to edit this one like this and this one like this. But you see a lot of editing now,
thats not what it is. You see people forcing a story into a style. If that makes any sense. Ive had some
ideas for stories that I thought would be like really cool but as I start cutting it Im like this has nothing to
do with the story. I mean, you know, its like hey look at me Im really good. You know, so I have to take it
out. You know, we have some guys like Mike whos amazing. Hes one of the best effects editors Ive ever
seen. But I think sometimes he kind of pusheshell come up with an idea and hell say the next story I do
its going to look like this no matter what it is.
(00:43:26) Keren: So what does that do for news? Is that news?
Josh: Well, I mean, are any of these sweeps pieces news? You know what I mean? I mean do we need to do
a sweeps piece on the difference between poly unsaturated fats and mono unsaturated fats? Is that news if I
can go Google it right now and figure it out for myself?
Keren: So what do you think counts as news? Were these all sweeps pieces?
Josh: No. I think that Girl Wrestler that was news. That was an under deadline deal. Kind of, what was
Keren: Saints.
Josh: Oh yeah, I thought that was news because that was during Mardi Gras, so. Um, Id say a good
example what wasnt news on there was the the Sports Woman story. Thats the only one I used any effects
in. You know, honestly, I think the more effects you put in a story the worse the story is probably. If you
have to use warp effects in a story, youre storys probably not that strong. The story itself. And I mean we
have some amazingly well-edited pieces
Keren: Whats the matter with a story when its not strong? To the viewer, to the news show
Josh: Um, well, I guess I think a lot of stories now are Internet driven. I think a lot starts with meetings.
Your morning meeting in the newsroom, youre sweeps meeting in a newsroom, you know they used to
come in with newspapers, now theyre coming in with print outs from the Internet pages and so a lot of the
visuals are being driven by the Internet. You dont have a lot of visuals with the Internet you have a few
things. There was one sweeps period a couple years ago wherethe Ebay lady story they covered this
Ebay lady story and there would be stories during sweeps week that was an Internet story.
Keren: about the internet?


Josh: Related to the Internet. Spyware, youre going to die if you dont get spyware for your computer type
stories. And they were some very well edited pieces. And the visuals that Mike came up with, the beauty
stories that I was like wow, where did he get that? He was opening his JVC Pro deck and taking a lipstick
camera and going in you know to get visuals and it was really cool and very well done. So, I mean, I guess
if I saw the promo you know find out about spyware if I really cared about it I would go to the Internet. I
wouldnt sit around and watch it on our TV station, I would just go look it up myself.
Keren: So, what are you supposed to see on TV?
Josh: Well, on TV. Well, I think thats the opportunity that we miss sometimes is the people. You know, I
mean, what makes a picture good you know, I mean youre at a volcano you know its cool to see the
volcano but wouldnt you rather see the picture of your boyfriend in front of the volcano? Right? I mean,
which one are you going to put in the frame? Are you going to put the volcano in the frame or are you
going to put the picture of the person that youre at the volcano with? Right? I mean it just comes back to
compelling stories about people. And I actually think we kind of, you know, when we come up with these
visuals for these bad stories and we do this I think its actually detrimental to the future of television news
that we do that because were not playing to our strengths were actually driving people to other sources.
Find out about spyware, important news about spyware. Okay, Ill find out about it on my own, thanks. I
mean if spywares a threat to somebody obviously they have a computer and they could look it up
(00:51:48) Josh: You know what would have been interesting is if I would have sent you a script you
would have seen what they wrote versus what I gave them. Because, especially that one story the
raydomes? The reason why I liked that story so much is because the way it was written it didnt include
that guy thumping the dome at all, it just started with like the soundbite of the guy you know just talking
about the raydome. I thought you know when I was watching the tape I was watching him thump these
domes and I heard it first I was like whats he doing? You know and it was like really cool to me and so I
totally redid the front of the package, I pulled a different bite, I broke up the nat sound, the nat sound
playing off the raydome and I explained you know this is the way we need to do it. Because the producers
that wrote it started with a talking head of the guy talking about the raydome. I dont even remember what
hes saying to tell you the truth.
Keren: boring.
Josh: And whats funny is that the producer, when he saw the story, he was so mad at me. And I was off.
Keren: Mad at you?
Josh: Yeah, she hated the way I edited the story. But he went to tell my boss he didnt like it. He went and
found the managing editor at the time whos now our news director and said look at this story look what he
did. So, like, the managing editor watched the story he said you are not touching that story thats the way it
should be done. But all this happened behind my back. I mean, I got all this information from a different
friend when all of this was going down. I mean, its just, to me it was just obvious that this is some of the
most interesting thing thats going on and she didnt even acknowledge it.
Keren: The way you are editing and think this is what NPPA is seeing is that youre recognizing that there
needed to be a story there as opposed to an account. Right, this happened then this happened then this
happened. You know, whatever.
Josh: Yeah, I mean its like these PIO bites that we get on the morning news like itll be an officer-involved
shooting over there and theyll go out you know theyll send a photographer out at three oclock in the
morning and a public information officer from the police is there and he basically says well what we had
here was an accident. We had a man reaching for his waistband and pulled a gun out on an officer and the
officer shot him. Do we need the PIO to say that? You know, I mean, cant the anchor say that? You know,
I mean what you want the PIO to say is that you know it turns out that you know this guy was a really bad


dude who hadwho beat his wife and had ten warrants out on him. You want the PIO to say the things that
you cant say. But usually the PIOs just say information probably that you already said in the VO.
Keren: So I think thats the same with the editing, you works the same with packages. You
know, you can show pretty pictures, and thats fine, or you can give me a reason to pay attention. And
theres two camps to that, right? I could be paying attention because of the awesome effects or you could
be telling me a story. And I think that NPPA is looking at your stuff and saying however you came into it,
you figured out how to tell people stories. And they value that. You know, thats my understanding of why
Mike put you on the list of people Im supposed to talk to.
Josh: A viewer only notices when I do something wrong when I do something bad. I mean thats the hard
part though about being an editor is that you go through this evolution. Especially if youve got any talent
at all in being an editor you know at first youre cutting VOs and ABs. and if you want to see that as being
a thankless job it can be. Because its not very glamorous, you kind of do it and you know you dont have
anything to put on your resume tape. I remember my first resume tape I had to take VOs and ABs off of an
aircast. And so I had anchor heads up there and when I put my tape together the guy ended up giving me
my first job said well all you did was edit together an airtape and I said no no I cut those VOs and ABs but
you know you cant put that on a resume tape. So, its developing a skill. And you find a way to get more
packages. And youre making packages look better. You know you get thinking well, Im good. I want to
get better and its kind of a track as you get better that you start doing these with the story in an attempt to
show how good you are. And you can keep going with that you can build on your ability to make all these
effects and all these layers and your video will look amazing and thats pretty cool but you know at the end
of the day that package that you edited was more about you as an editor than it was about the story and
about the people in the story and you kind of have to get to the point where you try to take yourself out of
the story. You know I mean you want I mean when youre an editor I mean its not, nobody sees youyou
have your hands on this material and you have (muffled) hey look at me look at me but when you do that it
ultimately it doesnt help the story. In order for your editing for you to really put the story, do justice to the
story, you have to take yourself out of it. And a story has to be about whats best for the story. Not whats
best for me, not what will win me an award but whats best for the story. And sometimes that means
leaving a shot up for 8 seconds. Which is against everything that you feel as an editor that you should be
doing in a package.
Keren: Eric left a shot up for 17 seconds. It was totally worth it.
(01:05:07) Josh: Yeah, if theres a reason to do it. But the problem is that I mean we do a lot of things just
because we can. And I mean the stories arent as good as they used to be.
Keren: Why do you think that thats changing? Is it technology? Whats changing?
Josh: Technology probably has something to do with it. I think the corporate influence on all news. I mean
were a CBS o and o so we have influence from CBS. You know youre numbers should be this, why arent
they this? And so you hire a consultant. A consultant tells you people really like the Internet you should do
some stories about the Internet. Right, I mean people who like the Internet are going to use the Internet. I
think its a, and its cycle. You know and I think smart managers will actually realize that you cant let a
consultant tell you whats right for your market. I mean you have become a news director because you have
this skill and because you have this knowledge of news and how to tell stories and how to effectively put a
newscast together. And so you have to stop listening to these people. I think consultants are really bad.
(01:07:23) Josh: You know the funny thing is that news consultants usually end up being fired news
directors. They hire news directors that got fired within the market to come in and tell you how to fix your
news. So your predecessor that got fired is telling you what you should do with your newscast. Doesnt that
seem like theres something wrong there?


Keren: I didnt know that. Thats actually really interesting. Thats a whole other study. Im just curious, I
didnt ask the other guys this, I dont know if this is something you can answer easily, but what do you see
as the difference between news editing and film editing or documentary editing?
Josh: Well, its interesting to watch like a Discovery documentary. I think the biggest thing between like
what I do and a Discovery documentary is the pacing. I only have on average a minute and a half in a
package to tell the story and Ive got, you know, three tapes, you know they shot three tapes. And so youre
trying to get as much information in there as possible. Where as, you know, if you watch something on
Discovery they have hours to tell the story, theyve got these great landscapes shot that they leave up for
five seconds, ten seconds, with no sound. You know just a gentle breeze in the wind that they didnt even
pot up for you to hear but you could still hear it. Its just more, you watch its still compelling you know
because you know I mean its an entirely different venue. Its so different. I actually think that documentary
editing is so far from what I do. Its interesting though, because I have a better shot at getting a job cutting
for Discovery Channel than I would cutting features. But, realistically, cutting a feature is probably closer
to what I do that with documentary because you wont see features that have these really long chunks you
know like documentaries do. And it amazes me, I dont think its bad, but when you watch you know
gazelles frolicking on the African planes, thats what you see. You get a wide shot. And if I put a thirty
second shot in one of my packages it wouldnt be a good decision. Theres no way I could ever you know
knock on somebodys door in L.A. and say hey Id like to edit a feature for you. But thats closer to what I
do than I see documentaries.
Keren: I actually think it could be the other way around. I mean I know youre not supposed to leave thirty
seconds of silence but you certainly leave silent moments.
Josh: Right, well I mean the pacing. The pacings so different. I think to me pacing is so critical in what
you do. Knowing when to take a shot, and knowing how long your nat sound break is supposed to be. And
a lot of it is pacing. And whats weird with me is that the more I the further along I get the shorter my
nat breaks are. Theres not less of it, but theyre more concise. And Im trying to move the story along.
(muffled) So, I think pacing is the most important thing.
Keren: Do you have any advice for students?
Josh: Thats an interesting question. Well, I mean, its just, for somebody that wants to edit its actually
pretty rare to meet people that want to edit. Most people I mean its funny like all of our interns that come
in want to be on air. I never wanted to be an on air person. Its just like their such cheeseballs. I couldnt do
that and look in the mirror every morning and like myself. I couldnt. So you end up with people that have
other plans but its very rare to see people that just want to edit.
Keren: Why did you want to edit?
(01:13:05) Josh: Why did I want to edit? You know I just always liked it. You know I tried editing in high
school. We had aI went to (name) out South that they had this like magnet program at school called the
(name) where for my electives I could go for like half the day and one semester I was like editing it was
film radio and television audio engineering and I really liked the film and television aspect of it. Muffled. I
did TV for a semester and learned how to edit. Even editing the film it was really cool. You know I just
really, I understood how to do it. You know, not well, but I could do it. You knowit really just came
naturally to me. And taking the path of least resistance you know I could be good at this so Ill do it.
Keren: Is there anything you want to add?
Josh: Well, you know its easy to snap to like judgments about what the futures gonna be. But we dont
know. Theres a lot of theories but we just dont know how its all going to shape out. But I guess like as
students the most important thing is to not only to understand how to do your job well but to understand
what other peoples jobs are. You know, I mean if you really want to have a career and last you have to
understand how the writers work, how the producers work, how the graphics people work. What theyre
doing and maybe do it too. I mean I really think the future of editing is a hybrid job. Were going to have to
know how to write and probably know something about graphics too. Muffled. But if you can do three or
four jobs, two jobs, youre an asset.


Appendix C. Content Analysis




































































































Keren Henderson was born in Toronto, Canada, on August 13, 1978. She earned
her Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Toronto in June of 2000, with a
minor in English. Keren spent her first semester of graduate school at Loyola University
in New Orleans. She came to LSU as a visiting student during the Katrina evacuation
semester of Fall 2005 and never left. Kerens five year break between her two degrees
were spent as a waitress, production assistant, ceramic flute maker (seriously), office
manager, and video editor. The latter uncovered a love and appreciation for the
manipulation of time and space, cinematically speaking.